Fruits of their labor: Yield down, but quality strong

Published 4:17 am Saturday, August 4, 2018

Washington Parish watermelon farmers might not have had the highest yield in this year’s crop, but the quality was excellent, according to parish farmer Mickey Murphy.

Murphy said that he would guess that this season’s yield was about “35 percent” compared to a productive season.

“The quality was excellent, although the output was worse than normal,” he said. “It was still much better than last year, however.”

Murphy and John Gallaspy showed off one example of that quality — a 93-pound watermelon of the Jubilee II variety. Gallaspy said that the fruit was unusual because it is considered a market melon, rather than a “show melon.”

“Obviously in shows you can see melons that are over 100 pounds,” he said. “But this is probably the biggest market melon I have ever seen. It’s definitely one of nature’s oddities.”

Gallaspy and Murphy both said they will continue to grow watermelons as long as they can, but they are concerned about the future of the crop in Washington Parish.

“There aren’t too many farmers around here who are younger than 50,” Murphy said. “We really need to get some of the younger folks involved, so we can carry on the tradition of Washington Parish watermelons for years to come.”