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January 11, 2016

American Consumers Preferences for Watermelons and What to Plant

Watermelons are one of our country’s favorite sweet treats, and the versatility of this melon is astounding. Actually, a vegetable that’s a member of the cucumber family, watermelon is grown in states with warm climates. Florida, California, Texas, Indiana, Georgia, and North and South Carolina are the main states that grow watermelons, though watermelons are grown in other states as well.

World-wide, there are 1,200 varieties of watermelon grown in 96 countries. The U.S. and Mexico grow 200 to 300 different varieties combined. Take a look at the varieties grown across the U.S., driven by consumer demands.

Top Watermelon Varieties in the U.S.

Seeded Watermelon

Watermelons with seeds harken back to lazy summer afternoons, picnics and watermelon seed-spitting contests. A tried-and-true group of watermelons; they are a perennial favorite. With sweet, red flesh and an oblong shell patterned in the classic green striping, such hybrids are numerous and very popular. In California, the hybrid “Calsweet” is the most popular open-pollinated variety. In Florida, “Duration,” is a popular seeded watermelon variety.

Seedless Watermelon

Seedless watermelons are quickly rising in popularity. In an October 15, 2015 listing of 19 melons bred to please consumers, 15 were seedless varieties. In California, seedless varieties have accounted for the lion’s share of the state’s watermelon acreage. In Florida, where watermelons can be raised nearly year-round, dozens of different hybrids— from “Crisp N Sweet” to “Millionaire” to “Revolution”— are popular. Seedless watermelons have been bred to be sweeter and have a longer shelf life.

Icebox Watermelons

Normal watermelons are quite large, so scientists started breeding smaller varieties from six to less than 15 pounds that would fit in an icebox— now known as a refrigerator. These smaller, rounder varieties are very popular with consumers looking to enjoy watermelon among a smaller group. Available in both seeded and seedless varieties, popular icebox watermelon hybrids (with names indicative of their diminutive sizes) include Sugar Baby, Tiger Baby, Baby Doll and Mickeylee.

Personal Watermelons

The latest development meant to catch the consumer’s attention is the personal, micro or miniature watermelons. These melons have been bred to be under six pounds, seedless and with a variety of colors and patterns. Featuring similar names to icebox varieties to reflect the produce’s miniature size, popular varieties include Precious Petite, Petite Perfection, Solitare and Extasy.

The land loan specialists at AgAmerica Lending are proud partners to those in the watermelon industry, from micro watermelon growers to those growing picnic-sized melons on acres and acres of fields. We’re happy to help all ag growers and producers to grow and expand their agribusinesses with our ag loans offering low-interest rates, long amortizations, and outstanding 10-year line of credit.

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