As the hot dry weather causes more and more of our corn and soybeans to wither and wilt, the Midwest melon crop has been soaking up the sun, creating a crop that’s literally sweeter than ever.
“They like hot weather and things like that. We’ve got a crop it’s going to be shorter this year because the heat’s brought it all on at once, but our size is still pretty good, for the most part and the flavor is excellent,” says Shane Mairet, owner of Mairet’s Garden Center near Muscatine, Iowa.
Mairet tells us his melon crop is in extremely good shape this year. The watermelons and cantelope love the hot dry weather, although it’s made his fruit just a little smaller than year’s past.
It’s a trade Mairet’s happy to make, because he’s still in much better shape that almost every other farmer in the state.
“Everyone’s got their own challenges that they face, and ours are just different than what 90% of the farmers in Iowa do,” says Mairet.
This year the melons may not be as big as years past, but the flavor is, as the sugars are condensed in to these smaller melons.
“The leaves are still packing that sugar down to the fruits, but there’s not enough water uptake from the roots to flood it and put water into it. So you just get more flavor and sugar than water mixed in there,” he explains.
The heat has shortened this year’s melon season buy a couple of weeks.
Mairet hopes to make his crop last until Labor Day, long enough to keep up with demand for one of this year’s most successful crops.
“Right, short and sweet that’s exactly right,” says Mairet.
Merrit tells News 8 we’re just about half way through this year’s ‘melon season’ and right now’s the ideal time to take advantage of this year’s super-sweet crop.