The Crane Melon is a 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. A ripe melon can grow to be about 4-7 pounds and has an orange flesh. The melon is described as "exceptionally sweet and juicy".
The Crane Melon has appeared in magazines, newspapers and TV shows. It is on the Ark of Taste: Slow Food USA. It was recognized as a true heirloom by a Los Angeles Times article, "The original heirloom concept applies most readily to vegetables and the few fruits, chiefly melons, that are propagated by seed". Another 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.
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. “The Crane melon’s flavor is due to its terroir. The melon was developed to be grown...in a particular soil, within a specific climate zone, farmed in a certain style.”