FORESTBURG, S.D. (KELO) — As parts of KELOLAND eagerly await the next round of rainfall, the hot and dry conditions in Forestburg have produced one of the best melon crops in recent memory.

Larson Melons got its start in 1952. Nearly seven decades later, this family-operated business is one of just a few remaining in melon country.

“We’re a dying breed, we’re a dying breed. There used to be 17 stands from Forestburg to Huron at one time and now there’s three,” melon grower Kelly Larson said.

A year ago, Larson Melons lost one-third of its crop to wet conditions, including a four day span that produced four inches of rain. This summer, Kelly has seen four inches in four months.

“Last year was the worst year, of my life anyway, lost a lot of stuff with the rain. We had over 40, 50 inches of rain last year,” Larson said.

Larson says the combination of dry weather and sandy soil made for ideal growing conditions.

“It’s easy for them to root down into the sand and there’s a clay base and they get enough moisture that they want and they take the rest of it out of the air. That’s why they don’t need a lot of rain,” Larson said.

“You cut them open and they’re dark red inside and sweet and juicy,” George, Iowa resident Marvin Duin said.

Marvin Duin is making his third trip of the summer to Forestburg. He buys and resells the melons in George, Iowa.

“Put it this way here, the town of George, Iowa waits to buy melons until I show up. They really love these melons and this year they’ve been exceptional,” Duin said.

He packs his truck with more than 200 melons. Leftovers are never an issue.

“No problems, I’m usually sold out within two to three days,” Duin said.

Duin is one of Larson’s many loyal customers, who aren’t afraid to draw a line in the sand.

“The vein of sand goes right through here and that’s the best melon country there is,” Larson said.

Larson says they’ve been working since April, and three weeks into harvest are starting to see a profit. The harvest continues through mid-October.