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Crane Melon Barn Update

  • m

I've been keeping an eye out for crane melons the last couple weekends and not spotted one yet. So I called the Crane family and learned that the Melon Barn won't be open until OCTOBER this year.

Link: http://www.slowfoodusa.org/ark/cranem...

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  1. When I visited friends in Occidental late last summer I read an article about Crane melons in Sunset magazine. Chowhound that I am, we jumped into the car and headed for the Crane Melon Barn, only to find it closed. We were able to get one at a produce stand in Santa Rosa. I am glad I got to try it at least one time, it was wonderful.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Amy G.
      Melanie Wong

      Most years, right about now, Crane melons make an appearance at roadside farmstands and farmers markets. This year's crop is really late.

      They are delicious. Actually, when melons manage to ripen in Sonoma County (they often don't in the slightly cooler areas), they have an extra complexity that some say comes from a longer growing season and more hang time. The variety of specialty melons at the Healdsburg farmers market on Saturday was dazzling. But no Cranes.

    2. a
      Alexandra Eisler

      Visiting the Crane ranch to buy melons was a sure sign of fall when I was a kid! Man, the barn smelled like ambrosia on a hot day...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Alexandra Eisler
        Melanie Wong

        Actually, I've never been in the barn. It's been closed whenever I'm on that stretch of Petaluma Hill Rd., even when the season should be right. There's a recorded message when you call to check on when it will be open.

        Crane Melon Barn
        tel. +1 707.795.6987
        4947 Petaluma Hill Road
        Santa Rosa, CA 95404

        Here's a link to my old post on crane melons, dated exactly three years ago.

        Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      2. My daughter went by Crane Barn Saturday and they were closed. She then checked out FoodMaxx in Rohnert Park and they said they had had Crane Melons, but had sent them back due to "quality problems", but would have some in soon.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jim H.
          Melanie Wong

          Last year I bought my crane melons at Grossi Farms just down the road from the Melon Barn and on the east side of the street. I was there before the unveiling of a more elaborate roadside stand, so there should be more a structure to spot it now. The proprietress was a hoot. She had a bunch of heritage and French melons that she'd grown from assorted seed. But she didn't know what they were and I helped her identify a few of them. The farm has a calendar of when the diverse crops come into season, and I think the schedule goes into early November, so worth checking out too.

          Ed Grossi
          Grossi Farms (organic)
          6652 Petaluma Hill Road
          Penngrove, CA 94951

        2. They are currently selling crane melons at the Whole Foods in Campbell...$0.99 per pound. I just bought one today for the first time.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dogmother99

            Ah, but the Whole Foods in Berkeley doesn't sell them. I did buy one today at Berkeley Bowl. The plans were to head up to Santa Rosa, but got derailed. Maybe next week.

            Thanks for the heads-up Melanie. I've been thinking about those melons since I read your post a year ago. Melons, in general seem to be excellent this year. Haven't tried the Crane Melon yet.

            Jeez, I haven't been to Whole Foods in Berkeley in years since Berkeley Bowl is so close by. That Whole Foods now offers valet parking.

          2. I've seen Crane Melons for sale off and on since June in Santa Rosa grocery stores. They started to appear at farmer's markets in August - they are around. If you manage to get one try eating slices with squeezes of lemon juice. We were served Crane Melon that way at the 1st Slow Food Fast Food Picnic and it's amazing how much the lemon enhances the flavor. We've visited the Crane Melon Barn a number of times and their melons on average do seem superior to most. Happy Hunting.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JoanneFB

              Orange blossom water on Crane Melon is very good too.

            2. Bi-rite Market on 18th St. @ Guerrero has crane melons...don't know the farmer off the top of my head but you're right, they are tasty.

              1. So happy to hear that the Crane Melon Barn is open again! I just called the phone number and the very short recorded message said that they are open from 10-6. I don't know if that means just for today, but I'm hoping to get out there this weekend to finally get a taste of these things. I love melons, and have yet to try Cranes, even though they are right in my backyard, so to speak. Bad ChocolateNinjaHound, I know. (:

                7 Replies
                1. re: chocolateninja

                  I read that they didn't have a large crop this year, but what is available is prime. Call before going.

                  1. re: rworange

                    So, I attempted a trip to the Crane Melon Barn this afternoon. I called beforehand and got the same short message that they were open from 10-6. Pulled into the driveway of the Barn at 4:45 pm, and there was no one to be seen. I guess they either sold out for the day or closed up shop early. No Crane melons for me! )-; I'm very sad. Hoping to stop by later this week or maybe next weekend. And if I can't get any from the Barn, I guess I'll do my best to find them somewhere else...Farmer's Market maybe. *sigh of disappointment*

                    1. re: chocolateninja

                      Hey Chocolate - try Imwalle's Produce on West 3rd Street in SR. They had them earlier this summer. Be well, eat well.

                      Imwalle Gardens
                      685 W 3rd St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

                      1. re: chocolateninja

                        Thanks. I almost went up there yesterday. Don't forget to check Grossi Farm mentioned earlier in this link for Crane Melons. They are just down the road from Crane.

                        1. re: rworange

                          I made it up to the barn this morning and bought six fragrant melons (pictures attached). They're 99 cents a pound, and the lovely woman in charge mentioned that the melons should be available for the next five weeks or so.

                          I had planned to stop by Grossi Farm, too, but when I called their number, a recorded message said that they're no longer in fruit and vegetable production, except for pumpkins in October.

                          I did notice another farm along Petaluma Hill Road (on the left side when making your way from Crane Melon Barn to Yolanda Ave.) advertising "sweet, juicy melons" but didn't stop because I was already overloaded with melons.

                          1. re: Lillian Hsu

                            That farm has good tomatoes at good prices and also Crane Melons. Worth a stop. Melanie reported on it, but I'm forgetting the name.

                            Crane Melon Barn
                            4935 Petaluma Hill Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

                        2. re: chocolateninja

                          I bought a great Crane melon from Big John's in Healdsburg on Saturday. It was about $1.25/lb. Perfectly ripe and ready for dinner that night.

                          Big John's Market
                          1345 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                    2. I just bought a crane melon--my first--at oliver's in Cotati this afternoon for 1.29 a pound. Unrelated, but also delicious, Ciao Bella is on sale there right now for 3.79

                      1. Crane Melon Barn should be open for about another month...

                        1. The Crane melon Barn is open. I bought one on Sep 11 and ate it on the 12th. Carol Crane picked it out. YUM!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: penngrovepat

                            Thanks, I saw the "open" sign on Friday morning when I drove by but didn't have time to stop.

                            1. re: penngrovepat

                              Alternative - Tierra Farms (Airport Rd, north east side) farmstand in north Santa Rosa has organic Crane Melons. and Yum indeed.

                            2. Oct. 10 LandPaths Goes to Crane Melon Farm

                              Our Fall Calendar of Outings is taking shape, but won’t be ready for release for another week or two – stay tuned! In the meantime, we have just confirmed details for our first tour of the Crane Melon Farm, next Saturday, October 10, taking advantage of the peak melon harvest time. Read on for more details or to request space(s). There is no cost and reservations are required for this outing.

                              Get Onboard the ‘Ark of Taste’

                              Crane Melon Farm Tour

                              Saturday, October 10, 10:30am-noon

                              Outing Details: Meet sixth generation farmer, Jennifer Crane, the new younger face of local agriculture. The Crane family farm, just south of Santa Rosa, includes 80 acres protected by your Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District and is home to some of the sweetest melons anywhere.

                              We'll visit the melon field, learn its history, its connection to Slow Food's Ark of Taste, and head back to the Crane Melon Barn for a tasting and opportunity to purchase melons. We’ll have a chance to talk with Jennifer about her experience farming in Sonoma County and with Linda Peterson of California Farm Link about larger efforts to support local agriculture.

                              Short walking farm tour; Families welcome; fresh melons for sale; BYO picnic or potluck lunch if desired; no cost for tour and tasting.

                              For more details on the Crane Melon Barn, visit www.cranemelon.com.

                              Other partners include: California Farmlink, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, and Slow Food USA.

                              When: Saturday, Oct. 10, 10:30am-noon

                              Where: Just south of Santa Rosa. If space is available, we will confirm your request and send more details including exact meeting location and directions.

                              To Request Space(s): There is no cost and reservations are required for this outing. To request space(s), visit LandPaths’ online calendar at www.LandPaths.org and click on Crane Melon Farm Tour. You can also send an email to outings@LandPaths.org. If space is available, we will confirm your request and send more details including meeting location and directions. While you’re on the website, check out LandPaths’ other outings and volunteer events.

                              We hope you can join us!

                              www.LandPaths.org www.sonomaopenspace.org