Watermelon farmers hit the market early this season - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Watermelon farmers hit the market early this season

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CORDELE, GA (WALB) -

Watermelon season is already in full swing thanks to an unusually warm spring.

"I was able to get to the market early this year. It's kind of unusual to have watermelons ready in May, but this year, we was able to do that," said Casey Horton, a watermelon farmer from Dodge County.

Ben Reeves is a fourth generation watermelon farmer from Turner County. He normally sets up shop at the State Farmers Market in Cordele this week, but this year Reeves, along with many other farmers got a head start.

"We were able to start our planting season off a lot earlier this year and it gave some of us an opportunity to get a jump start I guess on this years crop. So it's been pretty beneficial the last couple of weeks," said Reeves. 

But mother nature has not been entirely kind to the watermelon business. Reeves says Mays hail storms hurt some of his friends crops in Tift and Worth Counties. But that ultimately means better business for him.

"I hate to say this because I want all of us to make money. As far as farmers, we all try to make sure we get in together. But it does, when the number of melons go down, the price goes up. And the more melons that are here, the more the prices falls," explained Reeves.

While farmers have been able to bring in watermelons earlier this year, a lack of buyers is a new concern.

"There just doesn't seem to be as many buyers and brokers here as there use to be. So that kind of concerns me. We've been kind of wondering about that in the next week or two. A lot of them haven't made it up from Florida yet. So we're just kind of waiting around to see what next week holds, and this week," said Reeves.

So far many farmers are considering this years watermelon crop a success, but only time will tell if buyers come in and business booms.

The peak harvest season for watermelons lasts until the middle of July.

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