More money for melons this summer - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

More money for melons this summer

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July 1, 2005

Sasser-- One favorite treat at Fourth of July gatherings is a sweet south Georgia watermelon. But you might not see as many this year because of higher prices. Florida's watermelon season is ending leaving Georgia farmers to pick up the slack from an already slow season. Weather problems in the spring hurt Georgia's crop. Now melon lovers are dishing out a little more money for the summer favorite.

It's the holiday weekend and many are looking forward to 4th of July fun. "Hopefully Monday we can get out and do some cooking outside, eat this watermelon I got here," says Gus Williams. Watermelon is hard to resist when the temperatures heat up. "Definitely quenches your thirst. That's for sure," says Williams.

It's a sure thing at cookouts and picnics. 4th of July and watermelon go hand in hand. "Oh yeah, oh absolutely. They're good for you too. Cleans out your kidneys, good for your system. Watermelon's the best. I think it's one of the best fruits around," says Williams. But the good fruit is costing consumers a little bit extra.

"Sometimes you have to pay a little more for things you really want," says Williams.

This time of year is the peak of the watermelon selling season at Mark's Melon Patch. "Watermelons are a big part of our business. The watermelon and the sweet corn," says Mark Daniel. They make up half of their business during the summer but a cold spring and wet weather caused a delay in getting the melons planted. Now the demand for them outweighs the supply.

"It's supply and demand and there's not much supply and there's a regular 4th of July demand so the prices are really jacked up right now," says Daniel.

They're up to a wholesale price of about 15 or 16 cents a pound. That's about double the price they are traditionally around this time of year. But customers are still looking for the best one. "We grow a lot of different kinds, shapes, sizes, seedless, yellow meats and little mini personal melons," says Daniel.

Because it's the taste that outweighs the cost for many. "You just have to work a little harder to get things we want these days you know," says Williams.

Mark Daniel says the supply is so low right now that he's having to buy melons to meet the demand. He says the prices should go down to their usual prices of 7 or 8 cents a pound after the holiday. Daniel also says he hopes the melon market doesn't crash by going down to 2 or 3 cents a pound because that would be a loss for everyone.

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