I grew up in south Florida and any trip to the watermelon fields brought such excitement to this little girl. We would go to the farms after the migrant workers had already picked. The farm owners let the public glean from the left over produce. We harvested strawberries, green beans, tomatoes, peas and watermelon. Anybody could have red melons. But we went to the fields where our favorite sweet yellow-meated fruit lay hidden in the dark green vines.
The days were always hot. We would come home covered in dirt. But at least one big watermelon was covered in ice in a cooler in our trunk!! No matter how dirty we were, the trip was worth it because we knew soon cold watermelon juice would be running down our chins. Our piles of watermelon seed grew the more we ate. We had amazing watermelon spitting contests! My mother always won because she had the best gap between her two front teeth…just perfect for a good spit!!
Fast forward many years later… I was married and living between Seattle, WA and Portland, OR. We were told it would be impossible to grow watermelon in our part of the country. My husband was determined to dispel this myth. Every year he has managed to grow at least one melon…until 2012.
Let’s just go ahead and refer to it as “The Year of the Watermelon”! David prepared a new patch of ground on the side of our home. The dirt was fertilized and then covered in black plastic. The seed were started early indoors in front of two windows. David planted two seedlings when our cool weather warmed up to 50 degrees at night. You cannot even imagine how those plants were lovingly cared for!
I was so sure the tender little melons would be eaten by slugs, opossums or raccoons! Every day the new fruit was checked and counted. The numbers began to grow as fast as the fruit! By the end of our short growing season, David had harvested over 30 melons! He loved sharing them with family and friends. And he loved seeing the looks on their faces when they cut open the melon and discovered a yellow-meated fruit…just like the ones I had eaten as a child!