Campaign seeks to bring national attention to NV melons

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Rick Lattin is looking for just the right melon to pick that will give the perfect amount of sweetness.

"Right there, that's going to be a great cantaloupe," he says, pointing to one that's nearly hidden by green leaves in the ground.

Lattin should know. His family has been growing melons in Fallon for years. But just recently, the University of Nevada has started working with him and other local farmers to grow more types.

"The melons we've been growing here have been heirloom melons that have to be eaten right after they're purchased and what the university has been helping us do is develop melons that will handle the time in transit to the stores," says Lattin, who owns Lattin Farms.

That longer shelf life will mean more opportunities, but the collaboration with the University's Desert Farming Initiative doesn't end there. DFI is hoping a new campaign called Sinfully Sweet will stick.

"We just tried to play with the history of Nevada and have a little fun with it," Jennifer Ott, manager of the Desert Farming Initiative at UNR, explains of the name of the campaign.

Farmers and the university are hoping people in Northern Nevada will look for the Sinfully Sweet Nevada Melons stickers on melons when they go to their local stores or farmers markets and -- if they don't see them on the melons -- ask why they don't carry them.

"The more that you ask for them and the more you recognize that they're around, then the more stores will carry them," says Ott.

The goal of the campaign is to eventually draw national attention and give farmers in other states some juicy competition.

"I hope that people recognize the Nevada melon as a signature product in our state," says Ott.

The Sinfully Sweet Nevada Melon campaign has just launched in Northern Nevada. It will expand statewide in 2018.