According to the 1937 Publication “Vegetables of New York” Roland Merrill crossed the Osage melon with the Netted Gem melon in 1890. Morrill was granted a trademark for the variety on December 15, 1914.
Shortly after the turn of the last century melons were shipped from Nevada to the east in railroad cars. This image from the early 20s shows a packing shed for an early shipment.
From Farm to Rail
Transporting melons from the field to the railhead required horse-drawn flat-bed wagons. Getting from farm to market sometimes took weeks.
Field Packing with Horses and Sleds
Field-packed melons were traditionally transported with horse and sled.
Field Sorting & Packing
Sorting and packing in the field was once even more laborious and time-consuming than it is today. This image from the 1930s show a worker sorting and packing in the hot summer sun.
Growing Melons in Northern Nevada
Northern Nevada is a land of extremes, days can reach over 100 degrees and nights often get below freezing into growing season. These Fallon-area farmers are using “hotkaps” to protect the melon plants from freezing.
Watermelons in the Desert
Watermelons have been grown in Nevada for over 100 years. This image shows a farmer tending his melons in Fallon.
By the 1950s machinery began to take some of the pressure off of the picking and packing process. This early harvesting equipment was invented in Fallon, Nevada.
These giant watermelons were normal for the time. Science and cross-breeding has helped farmers grow melons that are more suitable in size and with fewer seeds.
This image from the 1970s was taken at Lattin Family Farms in Fallon, NV. Hotkaps protect the plants from freezing during the early part of the growing season.
Melons grow well in Nevada’s hot, dry climate. Farmers credit the cool nights and hot days for increased sugar production. We should be telling everyone that the sweetest Melons grown are proudly Nevadan!