By Clint Thompson
Syngenta’s newest watermelon variety pays tribute to veterans while providing growers a product for the upcoming season with some disease resistance.
Valor should quickly become a highly sought-after variety for growers in the Southeast. It has a dark red, crispy flesh with a rind thickness that allows it to be transported from farm to the market without breakdown, according to Bernie Hamel, Value Added Chain Lead with Syngenta.
“Seedless watermelons have been around for a while. But what Valor is, it’s what we call a second early seedless blocky type of watermelon. It has a medium dark stripe. It almost looks pixelated, and it’s got a very nice, medium dark stripe and really good color contrast between the red flesh and the rind, which makes it attractive, whether it’s a whole melon or cut at retail,” Hamel said.
“Obviously, if you’re talking with growers, they get paid on yield. The first thing a watermelon must do is yield. But yield without quality, you don’t have anything. You have priorities. Obviously, it’s yield, and you can get yield through a strong vine, which Valor has and some disease resistance, which it also has.”
Valor has intermediate resistance to fusarium race one and anthracnose; two prevalent diseases growers encounter in the Southeast. It originated after the National Watermelon Association asked Syngenta to contribute to veterans organizations that it wanted to support. Syngenta developed this new variety and called it Valor.
With any plant sold through the Syngenta Full Count Plant Program, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to veterans organizations through the National Watermelon Association.