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The Crane Melon is an heirloom melon developed by Oliver Crane in the early 20th century.
The Crane Melon is a unique variety that was developed in the early 1900s in Santa Rosa, California. It is grown and sold at the Crane Melon Barn in Santa Rosa, California. A ripe melon can grow to be about 4-7 pounds and has an aromatic, orange flesh. The melon is described as "exceptionally sweet and juicy".
The Crane Melon has appeared in many magazines, newspapers and TV shows over the years. It is on the Ark of Taste: Slow Food USA. It was recognized as a true heirloom by an article in the Los Angeles Times website. The article mentions the requirements that are needed for a fruit or vegetable to be considered an heirloom. The article says that the term heirloom is applied to vegetables and fruits that are "propagated by seed". Another important requirement for heirloom status is how old the history of the vegetable or fruit cultivar is. The article discusses that generally the accepted cultivation history is between 50–75 years.
Richard Hope Crane came from Missouri to the gold rush in California in 1849. In 1852 he settled down in the Santa Rosa region of Sonoma County. The Crane Melon Barn was built in 1868 at 4935 Petaluma Hill Road. The barn is built out of redwood. It is where the Crane Melon is sold by 5th & 6th generation owners Richard, Cindy & Jennifer Crane. They carry on the family tradition of 160 years of farming in Sonoma County.
In 1920 Oliver Crane, Richard Crane's son, developed the heirloom Crane Melon. He crossed several species of melons including a Japanese melon, a Persian melon, an ambrosia melon, and a white melon. The Crane Melon is not found at grocery stores, it is farmed in the Crane Melon Barn, it is vine ripened, and does not have shelf life to be shipped. As Jennifer Crane—the sixth generation to own and operate the Crane Ranch and grow the Crane melon—explains, “The Crane melon’s flavor is due to its terroir. The melon was developed to be grown on the land that’s been in the Crane family for nearly 160 years—in a particular soil, within a specific climate zone, farmed in a certain style.”