Volume 3 Issue 8
July 2000


Watermelon, Man!

                                   The ingredients for a delicious watermelon begin at the
                                   farm, where the right mix of weather, water and vigilant
                                   care are needed to produce top-quality watermelons.
                                   Producers generally grow watermelon in rows, 8-12 feet
                                   apart, in raised beds 4-12 inches high composed of
                                   fertilized sand or sandy loam. Sheets of plastic cover the
                                   beds to hold in solid nutrients and water and keep out

                                   Tiny watermelon plants from a
                                   transplant nursery are implanted in
                                   the beds and their roots easily take
                                   hold and are widely spaced to allow
                                   for quick growth. Honeybees must
                                   pollinate the yellow watermelon
                                   blossom. Even the sterile, seedless
                                   watermelon requires pollination in
                                   order to fruit. In a month, a vine may
                                   spread to as much as 6-8 feet. Within 60 days, the vine
                                   produces its first watermelons and the crop is ready to
                                   harvest within 90 days. The first watermelons to mature
                                   are called the "crown set" because they are closest to the
                                   root. Other melons farther down the vine will ripen later and
                                   growers may harvest their watermelon fields several times
                                   before the crop is in.


1 cup diced watermelon, seeded
1 cup diced fresh or canned Pineapple
2 tablespoons minced Ginger
2 scallions, thinly sliced 
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced 
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley 
2 tablespoons lime juice 
1/3 C pineapple juice

In a bowl combine pineapple, watermelon, the
remaining tablespoon of gingerroot, scallions,
jalapeno, parsley, lime juice and 1/3
cup pineapple juice, mixing well. 


                                   The rind of a watermelon is deceptively hardy looking, but
                                   is actually quite fragile. That's why watermelons are still
                                   picked by hand from the field. Before picking, watermelon
                                   producers look for a pale or buttery yellow spot on the
                                   bottom, indicating ripeness. Watermelons are passed
                                   hand-to-hand from the field to trucks, which take the
                                   melons to packing sheds, where they are sorted and
                                   hand-packed into trucks, crated into bins or placed in
                                   cartons for shipment to their destinations.