Watermelon farmers selling smaller crop - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Watermelon farmers selling smaller crop

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June 27, 2003

Cordele-- From the field to the farmer's market, this year's watermelon crop is moving quickly--just in time for the Fourth of July holiday. While buyers from across the country are in Cordele to purchase the favorite summertime fruit, the pickings this year are slim.

One worker is loading fresh picked watermelons onto a conveyor belt. But most people at the Cordele Farmer's Market are loading watermelons the old fashion way. Worker James Brown says, "Yes, I make a little extra money, I catch a hustle here, I catch a hustle there. Anybody needs watermelons loaded or unloaded I'm here to do the job for them."

But there is not as much work for him at the Market this year.

"I won't have a fourth of the crop." It's the worst crop Ashburn farmer Randy Myers says he's seen in thirty years and there is one reason for it, "We've never had rain like this before!."

These are some of the watermelons from his crop that survived the soaking spring rains, "I mean 12 inches in one week it throws all the fruit off the vine, it just shrivels up and all we have is a black spot."

The watermelons that did make it are heading straight to North Carolina on this truck. Although there are not many of them, they are rumored to be the best, "I'm not trying to brag or nothing, but people just love my melons." People love watermelons--there will just be fewer to choose from this year.

This year, Ashburn Farmer Randy Myers planted only melon and corn. Even though prices are higher for watermelons, he's losing money this year because he lost of most of his crop. And this second generation farmer says he might just call it quits.

Posted at 4:00 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com