Dividends: Melons of the Night

Farmers have known for years that harvesting their produce at night can save time when ripening crops need to be rushed to market. But in California some enterprising melon growers are using the method to cut energy costs as well. Melons picked in the blazing California sun must first be cooled from 100° F or more down to 40° before the fruit can be packed and shipped. Electrical expenses for refrigeration alone can exceed $50,000 per season for a medium-size 5,000-acre farm. If the fruit is picked at night when the air cools the melons down to 70° or less,...

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