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Right Now - Home Grown Cantaloupes – League City

You wanna taste the best melons this side of the Pecos? Cantaloupes that is…and they’re grown right here, in the Bay Area, in League City, along Hwy 3 between 518 and 96. That’s right! You can’t miss the rich white sandy soil that sits on the west side of Hwy 3 and the aroma of cantaloupes. But you will miss the cantaloupe sign (if the sign is down-they’re out) if you don’t get there early. This morning they didn’t even get a chance to get the sign up before they sold out. 50 or so melons were gone in about 10 minutes.

Johnny “Pete” Daro is the guy with the green thumb, he’s 87 years young and has been growing these peach colored melons, on this same land, for over 70 years. This is a family affair and you will find Margaret Daro 73, Catherine Daro Palermo 76, George “the Mule” Bilotta 71, and the young ‘un Frank Palermo 55 tossing melons to one another human chain style every morning thru about the second week in July. They toss the melons to save steps and to keep the damage to the patch to a minimum. Johnny has farmed that land his whole life and is the last farmer in Galveston County. In fact he was born where the McCoys Lumber Yard is (I’m sure he was born in a house…maybe a barn…I’m sure it wasn’t a field). He was farming about 35 acres but sold 14 to CCISD for the new elementary school.

I asked Johnny where that soil came from and he said the property used to be a river bed (way before our time) and that is one of the reasons why his cantaloupes are the best you’ll ever eat. You need to get there early because this is no secret; at least to the folks that know that June means Johnny and the gang are up at the crack of dawn tossing melons.

The melons come in 3 grades, small, medium and large. And there are 2 varieties, Ambrosia and Sugar Queen. Price ranges from 1 to 3 bucks each.

If you miss the chance to try out the cantaloupes, which only lasts for about another 2-3 weeks, be sure to get by towards the end of July, that’s when his Crimson Sweet Watermelons will be ripe for the picking.

Remember to get there early in the morning and if you see the sold out sign, stop by and say ‘Howdy’ to Johnny and the gang anyways.

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