By Alfredo Moreno
That’s right folks, summer is here! The season of picnics, pool parties and barbeques has officially begun, and these tasty times have the same sweet treat on their menu – watermelon. When temperatures rise, those looking to beat the heat, are grabbing huge slices of the cool, refreshing fruit.
Made up of 92-percent water, watermelon is a low-calorie, natural thirst quencher that’s jam-packed with lycopene, as well as Vitamins A and C, and other nutrients including potassium, fiber, magnesium, and calcium, too.
So how do watermelons get from seed to supermarket?
The process is actually a bit more complex than one might expect. Altogether, it takes about five to seven years for a variety to make it to your kitchen table. Cross-breeding nearly 400 varieties from the get-go, we continue the testing process until we have reached one to two seed hybrids that meet the perfect size, color and eating quality requirements to hit the market.
Each year, farmers come together at produce trade shows, Monsanto field days, and even watermelon conventions to showcase their foods to vendors who then commercialize the watermelons by bringing them to stores throughout the country. However, these trade shows aren’t just about selling the fruit.
Each state convention hosts a beauty pageant to crown its own watermelon queen, who will ultimately compete to be Watermelon Queen of the United States, and that’s just one of the unique traditions in the world of watermelons.
Americans are also notorious for partaking in seed-spitting and watermelon-eating contests, carving watermelon sculpture art, and even smashing the fruit for fun.
As you can see, people across the nation are crazy about watermelon, and for a good reason. Health benefits aside, it tastes great and is fun to eat, too. So whether you eat it fresh by the slice, eat it with a spoon, or sip it in a glass, there is no denying it is a quintessential part of summer. Enjoy some today because it is officially in season!