Posted: Sep 18, 2011 10:23 PM by John Romero
Updated: Sep 19, 2011 10:39 AM
Farmers in Rocky Ford are scrambling to clear their name after a listeria scare was mistakenly linked to the area.
Health Department memos claimed the tainted cantaloupes were from the "Rocky Ford Region". Just recently it's been learned that the cantaloupes in question were actually from the Jensen Farms in Holly, which are 2 counties away.
Brain Knapp owns Knapp Farms in Rocky Ford. He said the news rocked his small farming community. "There was huge concern. A lot of generations of people had built the Rocky Ford name." he says.
Before any of his fruits or vegetables are shipped, Knapp tells us he and every other farmer take major health precautions. "Before a cantaloupe gets in the box it goes through a chlorination bath to do the best it can to clean it up." he explains.
As the "real" Rocky Ford Region works to clear its name Knapp says they're not blaming Jensen Farms just yet. He tells us the contamination could have come from a number of distribution channels. He and other farmers just want to know how this all happened. "There's still no evidence that listeria came from the farm in Holly, Colorado. So that's a huge concern for us because we need answers." he explains, "We don't want to go into another season without having any idea of what happened to those cantaloupes even if they weren't grown here in Rocky Ford."
As for the name "Rocky Ford cantaloupes", there's no law saying the melons or produce have to come from Rocky Ford. The name has never been trademarked.