By Clint Thompson
Ideal weather conditions contributed to “exceptional” quality of this year’s watermelon crop. That’s the expectation of two industry experts.
“I think the quality this year has been outstanding,” said Bob Hochmuth, UF/IFAS Regional Specialized Extension agent in Live Oak, Florida. “Some of that is due to the climatic conditions. We had a lot of real, clear, bright sunshiny days. We didn’t have a lot of rainfall. The watermelon sampling that I’ve done in the fields has been outstanding. They’re really, really high in brix.”
Brix refers to the sugar content that is available in the watermelon. The higher the brix level, the sweeter the watermelon is.
“That’s been one of the more notable things this year. The watermelon fruit has been exceptionally high in sugars, really high quality,” Hochmuth said.
Josh Freeman, University of Florida/IFAS Associate Professor in Horticultural Science, added, “The quality, from a consumer standpoint should be exceptional. It should be a really exceptional year at least from a brix standpoint. We’ve had ideal conditions. I think most consumers ought to be well served by the watermelon at retail this year. We’ve had high temperatures, little to no rainfall. The melons that are being picked in the Suwanee Valley, the quality on them should be really good.”
According to Florida watermelon producer Laura Land, recent prices were approximately 18 to 20 cents per pound for 45-count seedless; roughly $126 per bin.