Dry conditions resulting in sweeter melons

Posted at 10:02 AM, Jun 24, 2022

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services reports current weather conditions are causing lower yields of watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew.

Picha Farms off FM 1889 near Calallen said the season was cut short. The owner, George Picha Jr., is picking the last cantaloupes of the season.

However, experts have noticed the weather is also having a positive impact on its flavor.

“It’s very sweet and delicious,” said one customer.

No matter what, a watermelon is juicy, but if it's sweet depends on different factors.

“A lot has to do with the season. A lot has to do with the timing of the harvest. They can harvest them a little bit sooner so they’re not as sweet,” said Texas A&M Professor Juan Anciso.

As a vegetable specialist, Professor Juan Anciso tells KRIS 6 News watermelons are harvested in Texas as early as late April. This year it started in early May, and it goes until August.

Although the season was cut short because of weather conditions, Big Valley Farm stand is selling 50 to 60 watermelons per day, double of what it sold last season.

“A consistent product is going to keep your consumers happy, and it’s going to bring them in regular versus when they’re kind of satisfied,” said Bryana Martine, the owner of Big Valley Farm Stand.

Martinez has her business set up outside, near Bluntzer, and she said she knows a good melon when she sees it.

When she picks up watermelons from Premont and the Rio Grande Valley, Martinez has noticed conditions are much better to grow a marketable melon.

Now, experts predict the sweet Texas watermelon will be hard to come by.

“Even though you’re providing the water, you got a lot of sunburning happening to the fruit,” said Anciso.

The downside to dryer weather is something Big Valley Farm stand owner Bryana Martinez said she has also already experienced.

“That’s affecting the coast. So, you’re going to pay more for watermelons this year,” she said.

Big Valley Farm Stand is open Thursday through Sunday from 9am to 6pm.

Picha Farms off FM 1889 near Calallen is open from 9am to 7pm.