Explore the stats of the nation’s watermelon season.
In my latest column in Central Florida Ag News, I talked about a major Florida crop commodity: watermelons. Florida has a long watermelon season that produces melons for about six months out of the year. They lead the country in production, with watermelon farmers in Florida producing 18 percent of the nation’s watermelon crop. However, the Sunshine State isn’t the only one that contributes to the country’s watermelon market. Read interesting statistics about watermelons below.
The Nation’s Watermelon Season
Florida is joined by Texas, California, and Georgia in growing the bulk of the nation’s watermelons during the summer watermelon season. According to the Agriculture Marketing Resource Center (AMRC), these four states together produced 44 percent of the country’s 3.2 billion pounds of watermelons in 2014. Watermelon is considered one of the “top three crops” in the U.S., in terms of production. According to the AMRC, the average watermelon grower grossed $4,300 an acre in 2014.
Innovations in Watermelons
Each watermelon season has brought innovations in the melon. First it was tiny or “icebox” watermelons that fit nicely into refrigerators. Then it was seedless watermelons. The latest innovation concerning the red-pink fruit has to do with the watermelon’s color: yellow-flesh watermelons. Also called white-fleshed watermelons, these watermelons have flesh that is anywhere from pale yellow to light orange instead of the usual red.
The color change is a mutation that has been cultivated due to its high uniqueness factor. The rind looks the same, but the flesh is yellow to orange. The only difference other than the color is a honey-like flavor.
Buying a Ripe Watermelon
Most watermelons are picked at peak ripeness, and unlike other fruit like bananas, watermelons will not ripen after picking. While the only sure way to tell if a watermelon is ripe is by cutting it open, there are a few characteristics to look for. Make sure you get a ripe watermelon this watermelon season:
- It should have some weight to it when you pick it up.
- It will make a hollow sound when you tap on it.
- Check the spot where it rested on the ground in the field; it should be yellow, not white.
AgAmerica supports the nation’s watermelon farmers through the season and beyond. Read how one of our custom loans helped keep a watermelon farm afloat, then contact us to find out how our team of land loan experts can help your agribusiness thrive.
Growing up in the Florida cattle and citrus business, Don Harden manages his family ranch of several thousand head of cattle and horses. He has almost 40 years of experience in the real estate business; 15 years of which were spent with a large real estate auction company specializing in agricultural sales.