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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Watermelon Time: Hold the seeds, please

I am so glad that watermelons are “back in season.” Yes I know that they seem to be available all year round, but as my 16-year-old daughter Sophia has told me, “Mom, why do you keep buying watermelons in the winter? They don’t taste sweet - it’s not their season.”

So, frankly, I avoid buying watermelons until the weather has warmed up. In the last two weeks I have purchased two seedless watermelons and it’s almost time to put them on my weekly shopping list.

Seedless watermelons bring back such memories for me, because it was my mom, Frieda who first introduced and started marketing them back in the late 1960s. Yes, it’s been more than 40 years since Frieda’s started selling them! As I recall, the same couple (Art and Joyce Hood) who introduced Frieda to Pearl Onions – also brokered a small melon deal. With his cowboy hat and boots, Art seemed like a 7-foot-tall giant to 10-year-old me. He would drive in from the desert where he had found the first seedless watermelons.

Mom had a heck of a time marketing them to supermarkets in the beginning. After all, weren’t those inedible black seeds part of the fun of eating watermelons on a hot summer day? That’s how watermelon-seed spitting contests got their start! (Even seedless watermelons still have a few small, white seeds.)

Years later, there were other growers who got involved, and we started receiving watermelons from Central America. Then there were the Mickey Lee and Minnie Lee (Sugar Baby) personal-sized seedless watermelons. (Maybe they were invented at Epcot Center on the Disney property in Orlando?)

And of course today, there are many seed companies and growers who produce some great seedless watermelon varieties. And shortly, we will have Yellow Seedless Watermelons! (We used to distribute Orange Seedless Watermelons, too, but it seems they were not good producers, so all the commercial growers in the U.S. stopped planting them.)

We are all spoiled by the seedless varieties – it’s no wonder they have become so popular. In fact, today, the majority of watermelons grown in the United States are seedless.

Now, don’t get me started on how watermelons can grow if there are no seeds to plant. Go here if you want to know that!


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  1. I remember this Red Barber quote on the day Casey was born "Don't pick watermelons until the crape myrtles bloom" Isn't Los Alamitos Blvd lined with Crape Myrtles? I buy watermelons when I see the gorgeous pink blooms.

  2. Yes - that's a great tip for us Southern Californians!

  3. I can't tell you how much I enjoy your blog. What I particularly enjoy is that they are not long and "wordy". You come to the point and make it interesting to read. And I have learned a lot. Keep up the good work.

  4. we had a great breakfast in the desert - really sweet and cool - watermelons made a great breakfast

  5. I've been looking for orange watermelons for a while but haven't seen them. Now I guess I should stop looking. They sure looked nice though.


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