While many of you enjoy sweet, cool watermelon as a treat or snack this summer, remember where it comes from – the sweat of farmers, and some Florida growers say they had their best season ever.
The bountiful season, which ends in most of Florida in late June or early July, continues a trend – Florida leads the nation in watermelon production.
From 2010 to 2021, Florida growers ranked No. 1 in the U.S. with an average of 22,616 acres of watermelon harvested per year, according to a new UF/IFAS Extension document. Texas runs a close second with 22,016 acres followed by Georgia at 20,291.
“Florida watermelon growers do well because they can take advantage of relatively high prices early in the season,” said Tara Wade, an assistant professor of food and resource economics at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center and lead author of the document.
Harvests were especially good this year. Growers in the Suwannee Valley region say they had their best season in history, said Bob Hochmuth, assistant director of the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center-Suwannee Valley.
“First, there is a regional nature to the watermelon acreage in Florida. These seasons normally overlap somewhat and, when there is an overlap, farmers can ‘fill the pipeline’ quickly,” Mr. Hochmuth said. “But this year, the production in South Florida declined a bit early, leaving the Suwannee Valley pretty much alone to meet this demand. That was difficult to do this year with high demand for watermelon in May and June.”
Source : Hometown News