Watermelon

Along with fireworks and patriotic music, Independence Day celebrations require watermelons – and at celebrations east of the Mississippi, that means Georgia watermelons.

“Georgia melons are on the market and ready for July 4,” says Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Watermelon Association. “June and July are the window we fill. Watermelon territory starts in south Florida, which has an earlier season, and moves up the East Coast. Georgia melons are mature in early June through mid-July, which means most of the melons on the market around July 4 are going to be Georgia melons.”

Hall says consumers’ rising interest in nutrition is good news for watermelon growers. Watermelons are a healthy product, high in vitamins A and B6 – both good for the immune system – and in lycopene, a cancer-fighting carotenoid. Home cooks and professional chefs are finding new ways to serve watermelon in savory salads, on sandwiches, frozen into sorbets and even hot off the grill.

Georgia melons are the specialty of the Cordele State Farmers Market, the major distribution hub and shipping point for the Southeast as well as a shopping destination for melons and other fresh produce. During watermelon season, the market is open and busy from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. The market moves more than 1 million watermelons from farms to buyers, to be shipped north and west, according to Jennifer Felton, market manager. During peak season, watermelons roll up by the truckload.

“We have small farmers, those with 50- to 100-acre farms, come in and bring their watermelons for sale, and the buyers pick them up and take them north where Georgia watermelons sell for big dollars,” she says. “The price was high in 2012, no less than 12 cents per pound. That’s great considering in years past the price has been as low as two or three cents per pound.”

See Also:  Georgia's Peanut Crackers

Hall says watermelon is one of the larger commodities in Georgia, estimated as a nearly $100 million industry with roughly 25,000 acres of watermelons planted throughout the state.

Watermelon

Watermelons thrive in sandy or sandy loam soils, like the soil in Cordele, which claims the title of Watermelon Capital of the World for the quality and quantity of watermelons grown in the surrounding Crisp County. Georgia’s top five watermelon-producing counties are Worth, Tift, Crisp, Dooly and Wilcox.

The most popular watermelons grown in Crisp County are the juicy, seedless, red watermelons. Felton says in the 11 years she has been with the market, she’s seen watermelon varieties come and go, but the popularity of the seedless melons is consistent. Other varieties that move through the Cordele State Farmers Market include crimson sweet, sangria and yellow flesh.

Cordele celebrates all things watermelon at its annual Watermelon Days Festival, which marked its 64th year in 2012. Festival activities include the Watermelon Days Parade, Watermelon Festival Dance, the Junior Watermelon Entry Contest, the Watermelon Chunking Contest, the Big Melon & Adult Seed Spitting Contest, Singing at the Suwanee, live music and food.

Emphasizing the importance of watermelons for Georgia, the fruit leads per capita consumption of all U.S. melon crops with a 60 percent share, followed by cantaloupe and honeydew. On average, Americans eat an estimated 16 pounds of watermelon per person per year.

36 COMMENTS

  1. Will be traveling to Cordele Ga. August 25th will there be watermelons I can purchase for own use say 6 Crimson sweet melons to put in trunk and take north

  2. Hello Oscar i see your looking for watermelon growers close to atlanta, well i grow crimson sweets that avervage between 35 to 48 lbs and very sweet if your interested in truck loads contact me i am about 2 hours south of atlanta if thats to far I could deliver for u thank you for your time.

  3. Need information on the price watermelon and when does the season start.Will be coming from Cleveland tn .looking to buy in quantity and looking for other produce as well.Thanks Bill walker @ 423-310-6087.

  4. Hi my name is Russell Greene and I’m interested in loads of water melons,I always come to Cordele Ga with my uncle that sold produce,now I’m starting to sale produce myself,right
    now I’m starting off with my pick- up truck can you help me with prices,7063721564 call or Text

  5. Lenton I’m interested ur watermelon an i want to know wen they are goin to b coming in thanks an my number is 8649099629 my name is shannon

  6. I’m looking for cantaloupe farmers looking to buy by truck loads plz, call 8649099629 my name is shannon thanks

  7. Hello Lauren

    I have a small vegetable farm just East of Cordelle in a small town called Cadwell in Georgia, I will have Crimson sweet watermelon along with a few other varieties you might want to try. Please contact me at my email address: fromyvesgarden@gmail.com or text me at 813-842-1741. My name is Yvonne. Thankyou

  8. Hello Bill,

    I have a vegetable farm here in Cadwll Ga. We do sell watermelon, vegetables and herbs. We have 4 different types of watermelon. Price is determined by what you are looking for. Feel free to contact me or my husband at email fromyvesgarden@gmail.com or text us at 813-842-1741.
    Address it to Yvonne or Lenton.

    thankyou

  9. Can anyone tell me anywhere near Oxford, MS or Memphis TN area I can get sm yellow meated watermelons??? Asap

  10. I have seen your product very interesting, I also have the product like yours, can you assist to get the market where to sell my products?

  11. I have a small home watermelon patch in Opelika, Alabama and interested in the advice from premier watermelon growers of Crisp County.

    1. Do seedless melon compare in flavor to those with seeds. Which ones are good?

    2. Do you leave it up to the bees to pollinate the flower with/melon? If not, how is it done.

    3. Are dryed tendriels the best indicator that the melon is ripe? The yellow ground spot being the second best?

    4. Is the days to harvest on packets from Planting the seed OR from day the fruit is formed on the vine?

    5. If I have a 2×2 measured top of mound, how many plants should I have growing out of it.

    Thanks…always ask the experts.

    Alan Hinds, Opelika, Ala

  12. Looking for watermelon growers looking to but a trailer load this spring or summer if u can give me price an date I can come down thanks

  13. Hello my name i am with the company J & K Express Services, I have 7 semi trucks trying to find some Information on how I can pull some of your Watetrmelon loads.
    PH# 229-444-3959

  14. Hey everyone i am looking for watermelon growers north of Atlanta. We have a truck and small trailer, we would like to fill for resale. If you could help us out this year and a reasonable price call 606-375-2138

  15. HI all,
    Looking for anybody interested in selling picnic varieties (Crimson Sweet, Jubilee, Allsweet) available end of May in or around Cordele, Ga. Looking to buy truck load monthly through the summer. !! Bonus if willing to deliver to Brooklyn, NY!!

    Thank you for your time

  16. Hello my name is Jerry I am with the company J&K Express Services trying to see how I can get set up with your company to pull some of your watermelon can you please email me to let me know. Thanks

  17. Looking to purchase a load of watermelons off the farm around May 30th, purchase about 500 to 800 melons, who do I need to contact.
    Thanks for your time.
    J

  18. Intrested in buyin like 10 load of 36 count and med.
    Large sangria (seeded) watermelion will pay for
    cod for ever load we pick up each load will average
    46000 lbs. On a open top trailer loaded bulk
    Please contact at 8638779231 mike rick asap
    If available or rickc19692atgmail.com

  19. Would like to buy a pick up truckload to sell in Panama City. What kind of price am I looking at?

  20. Hi I’m from nyc and looking for seedless water melon seeds I wanna take it to my country I have big farm I wanna try it can someone advice me where I can buy it thank you

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