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ROCKY FORD, Colo. (AP) - Farmers are starting their harvest of Rocky Ford cantaloupes.

The Rocky Ford Growers Association says pickers were heading to the fields Friday. The association says growers had thought they might start harvesting a week ago, but the fruit hadn't quite ripened.

Rocky Ford growers were hurt by a listeria outbreak in 2011, even though the outbreak was traced to cantaloupes grown 90 miles away from Rocky Ford. The region's farmers collectively planted a small crop the following year.

The growers association says the 550 acres of Rocky Ford cantaloupes that farmers planted this year is more than double the acreage planted last year, but it's still not at capacity due to the drought.