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Mississippi Could See Shortened Watermelon Season

By Daniel Cherry | Published 05 Jul 2012 04:16pm | comments
The temperatures are heating up and making for a good crop of Mississippi-grown watermelons. But MPB's Daniel Cherry reports  how the dry, hot weather could shorten watermelon season.
 
Brenda Langham sells produce at a farmers market in Jackson. When it comes to picking out the perfect watermelon, she knows the trick...it's all in the sound.
 
"This is a good watermelon. (Slaps watermelon) Feel the vibration. Now do this one. (Slaps watermelon) Higher and deeper, and the higher and the deeper, the better."
 
Agriculture experts say Mississippi's watermelon crop has been better than usual so far this year, but that could soon change. Watermelons need high temperatures and lots of rain, but current dry conditions could end the growing season early for those in the business who don't irrigate like Charlie Adcox . 
 
"It's done got to the point to where the rain is short, hadn't gotten any water. They're drying up. They're sunburning now. It's going to be a quick season and be over with."
 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says so far Mississippi farmers have harvested more than 40 percent of the crop...that's more than 20 percent more than this time last year. But without rain, the melons will start to turn yellow and will grow misshapen. Many like Betty Thompson of Jackson aren't worrying about that right now.
 
"Well I'm glad we're getting some, at least now. And my dad always said they weren't any good until after the 4th. So I'm here the day after the 4th to get my watermelon."
 
Sellers say, there won't be a problem getting watermelons, they might just have to look to other states to keep up supply.

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