By Clint Thompson
A delay in harvest for North Florida watermelons would normally spell doom for producers in that region hoping to avoid a collision course with South Georgia producers. But that’s not the case this year.
Branford, Florida producer Laura Land said most producers are expecting to harvest at least week than they normally would, due to cooler temperatures.
“Most of them would probably come in the week of (May) 24th, and there’s a great deal of them that are thinking that they’ll come in more like the week of the 31st with a small cutting. It would be the following week before they come on along,” Land said. “Our personal watermelons are going to come in a little earlier than that. But we planted a good bit earlier than the majority here in North Florida.”
While North Florida melons are delayed, so too is Georgia’s crop. Its plantings were delayed due to excessive winter rains. But it was also slowed by a couple of cold snaps in April and one Saturday storm.
“I think, truthfully, they’re all going to fall in their own time slot this year. Normally, that would be a big concern because Georgia would be right on our tailfeathers here. But I wouldn’t say that’s true this year because those guys had to plant at least seven days later than they normally would have, due to it being wet,” Land said. “Normally if you plant a little later but you’ve got warm weather it’ll catch up pretty quickly. But we haven’t played a lot of catch-up this year.”