The outbreak, although contained only to Jensen Farms, severely hurt other cantaloupe producers, including Rocky Ford farmers.
This year's crop of cantaloupe is smaller than years past.
"The Arkansas Valley as a whole is probably down by 65 to 70 percent," Rocky Ford farmer Michael Hirakata said.
Rocky Ford Growers Association decided only to harvest 30 percent of the cantaloupe crop this year after last year's listeria outbreak traced to Jenson Farms in Holly.
"It was a very scary time at the end of the season," Hirakata said.
The outbreak halted the cantaloupe business everywhere, including in Rocky Ford. This year, Hirakata Farms-which distributes Rocky Ford cantaloupes-initiated nearly a million dollars in safety improvements.
Cantaloupe Safety 101
Among the improvements are a new washing and cooling system. They also invested into a new system that tracks the fruit from harvest to the consumer's hand.
Hirakata hopes the industry can come back and that trust can be restored.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)