By Clint Thompson
Vegetable and specialty crop prices are down for most commodities, except watermelon. Tim Coolong, associate professor in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, said he heard last week that watermelon prices were holding at about 20 cents per pound. That’s encouraging news for producers heading into this week’s Fourth of July weekend.
“Mid-June, 20 cents, that’s about as good as it’s been,” Coolong said. “There’s a lot of (other crops) on the market and prices are low, but watermelons seem to have been okay. Watermelons have pretty high freight costs. You’re sending a pallet with every bin. I’m not 100% sure why they seem to have been a little better.”
South Georgia watermelons are the main product currently on the market, though, there could be some overlap with South Carolina production, says Coolong.
This week is normally extremely busy for producers trying to meet the July 4 market. If there’s a staple for consumers this time of year to eat, especially when they’re with other family members, it is watermelon.
“People have individuals over. Generally, you might cook out and have a BBQ but you’re going to have, generally, a watermelon. That’s the vegetable or fruit that you associate with the Fourth of July. I bought one the other day when I was in South Georgia, specifically to have for this weekend,” Coolong said. “Even growing up, up north, we always had watermelon that time of year. I think especially now with the pandemic, people didn’t really get together last year for the most part. I think there may be a lot more socializing this year.”