Introduction – Best Watermelons In Texas
Texas, known for its diverse agriculture and unique culinary scene, is a hotbed for watermelon enthusiasts. With its hot summers and large tracts of farmland, it’s the perfect place to grow and enjoy this refreshing fruit.
This guide will delve into various aspects of the watermelon world in Texas, from where to buy the best melons, understanding different varieties, attending watermelon-themed events, to even growing your own.
Watermelons are a type of fruit that belong to the cucurbitaceae family, which also includes cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins. Watermelons are round or oblong in shape and have a hard, green rind on the outside and a juicy, pink or red flesh on the inside.
They are typically eaten fresh, often as a summertime treat. The flesh of the watermelon is made up of about 92% water, which makes it a refreshing and hydrating food. In addition to being high in water, watermelons also contain important vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as potassium and magnesium.
Buying Watermelons In Texas
When it comes to purchasing top-quality watermelons in Texas, options abound. Grocery chains like H-E-B and Central Market consistently stock fresh, locally-sourced watermelons during the season.
Farmers markets, such as Dallas Farmers Market and Austin’s SFC Farmers’ Market, serve as excellent platforms for local farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers. Some farms also allow direct purchases, offering an opportunity to pick your own fresh off the vine.
6 Best Varieties of Texas Watermelons
Texas’s climate accommodates various watermelon varieties. The Black Diamond, known for its dark green rind and sweet red flesh, is a local favorite. The Jubilee, another popular variety, is large and elongated, with a light green striped rind and sweet, crisp flesh. Other varieties worth sampling include Crimson Sweet, Sugar Baby, and Allsweet. Your choice might depend on your preference for size, sweetness, texture, and seed content.
|Watermelon Variety||Size||Shape||Rind Description||Flesh Description||Special Characteristics||Short Description|
|Black Diamond||Large||Standard||Dark green||Sweet red||Drought tolerance||Suitable for Texas summers|
|Jubilee||Large||Elongated||Light green striped||Sweet and crisp||None mentioned||Favorite among many|
|Crimson Sweet||Standard||Oblong||Striped||Sweet red||Disease resistance||Known for excellent flavor|
|Sugar Baby||Small||Round||Dark green||Very sweet red||Compact size||Good for home gardeners|
|Allsweet||Standard||Elongated||Light green striped||Red and firm||None mentioned||Particularly sweet variety|
|Royal Sweet||Standard||Standard||Thick||Sweet bright red||High productivity and disease resistance||Good for shipping|
Watermelon Descriptions – Significance Of Each
Size is a fascinating factor when considering watermelons. While at first glance it might seem that bigger is always better, that’s not always the case. The size of a watermelon doesn’t necessarily indicate its sweetness or flavor.
However, smaller varieties like the Sugar Baby can pack a punch in terms of taste, often being sweeter. From a practical perspective, smaller melons are more manageable for those with storage constraints, while home gardeners might prefer them due to space limitations.
On the flip side, larger melons may offer more value in terms of volume, even if they might not always be as sweet.
When we think about the Shape of a watermelon, it’s not something that most of us would associate with flavor. And indeed, whether a watermelon is round, oblong, or elongated doesn’t dictate its taste.
However, it does play a role in other areas. For instance, an oblong watermelon might fit better in a refrigerator or could be easier to stack in a store or during transportation.
Certain markets or cultures might also have preferences for particular shapes, influenced by tradition or practical considerations.
Now, the Rind Description might seem purely aesthetic, but there’s more to it. An attractive rind can catch a buyer’s eye, potentially increasing its market appeal and price.
The thickness of the rind is also significant, especially for those in the business of shipping watermelons. A thicker rind acts as a natural protective barrier, ensuring the inner flesh remains unbruised and fresh.
While the rind’s color or pattern doesn’t influence the taste, some people might have preferences based on visual appeal or familiarity.
Lastly, the Flesh Description is where taste takes center stage. This is the heart of the watermelon, and its sweetness, crispness, and color are direct indicators of its flavor profile.
A melon with very sweet, red flesh like the Sugar Baby is a treat for the taste buds, making it highly desirable. The texture, whether crisp or soft, adds to the eating experience, making certain varieties favorites among consumers.
The flesh’s color can also influence perceptions, with vibrant red often being associated with freshness and sweetness.
Watermelon Festivals and Events in Texas
Texas hosts several watermelon-themed events that celebrate the love for this fruit. The Luling Watermelon Thump, held annually in late June, is a four-day event featuring watermelon eating contests, seed spitting competitions, and a parade.
It’s a great opportunity to sample a range of watermelon varieties and meet the local growers. For 2023, the event will be held on June 22-25. As they say, “Always the LAST FULL weekend of June SINCE 1954”
Visiting Watermelon Farms in Texas
For a more immersive experience, visiting a watermelon farm can be both fun and educational. Farms such as the Pecos Cantaloupe Company offer tours where you can learn about the cultivation process and even pick your own watermelon in some instances. Buying directly from the farm ensures freshness and supports local agriculture.
|Pecos Cantaloupe Company||Pecos, Texas||While they’re best known for their cantaloupes, they also grow other produce, including watermelons.|
|Atkinson Farms||Spring, Texas||This farm grows a variety of fruits and vegetables, including watermelons, and sells directly to consumers at their farm stand.|
|Ham Orchards||Terrell, Texas||A family farm known for peaches, but they also offer other produce including watermelons during the season.|
|Engel Farms||Fredericksburg, Texas||A sustainable farm that grows a variety of fruits and vegetables, including watermelons. They sell their produce at multiple farmers markets.|
|Gundermann Acres||Wharton, Texas||A family-owned farm that grows a wide range of fruits and vegetables, including watermelons. They sell directly to consumers and at farmers markets.|
Growing Your Own Texas Watermelons
For the green-thumbed, growing your own watermelons can be a rewarding endeavor. Texas’s hot, sunny climate is ideal for watermelon cultivation. Good draining soil, ample space for sprawling vines, and regular watering are essential. Consider varieties like Sugar Baby or Crimson Sweet, which are known to thrive in Texas conditions. Be vigilant about common pests like aphids and cucumber beetles.
To grow your own watermelons, you will need the following items:
- Seeds or seedlings: You can either start with watermelon seeds or purchase young watermelon plants from a nursery.
- A sunny spot in your yard: Watermelons need plenty of sunlight to grow, so choose a spot in your yard that gets at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
- Well-draining soil: Watermelons require well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Before planting, you may need to add compost or other organic matter to your soil to improve its quality.
- A trellis or support system: Watermelons are climbing plants and will need some kind of support to grow on. You can build a trellis or use stakes and twine to support the vines as they grow.
To plant your watermelon seeds or seedlings, follow these steps:
- Choose a sunny spot in your yard with well-draining soil.
- If necessary, add compost or other organic matter to the soil to improve its quality.
- Plant your seeds or seedlings in the soil, spacing them about 3-4 feet apart.
- Water the plants well and continue to water them regularly, making sure the soil stays moist but not waterlogged.
- As the plants grow, provide support by building a trellis or using stakes and twine.
- After about 3-4 months, your watermelons should be ready to harvest. You can tell when they are ripe by looking for a yellow or white spot on the bottom of the fruit, which indicates that it is ready to be picked.
Growing your own watermelons can be a fun and rewarding experience. With the right care and attention, you can enjoy fresh, juicy watermelons from your own backyard.
Best Watermelons To Grow In Texas
Texas watermelons come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Hybrids are a cross-breed of different varieties and are known for their high sugar content and robust flavor. Varieties such as Big Stripe, Royal Sweet, Jamboree, Stargazer, Stars-N-Stripes, Summer Flavor, 800, Dulce, Ole, Sangria, and 810 are some of the most popular hybrid watermelon varieties.
Seedless (Triploids) varieties are known for their sweet and juicy flavor with thin and edible seeds. Varieties such as Crimson Trio, Tri X313, Caurosel, Dillion, Summer Sweet, 5244, Gem Dandy, Tri X Palomar, and Sweet Slice are some of the most popular triploid watermelons. Long Seedless varieties such as Revolution are known for their sweet flavor and thin rind.
Open Pollinated varieties such as Allsweet, Jubilee II, and Legacy are known for their firm, sweet flesh and thick rind. Yellow Flesh varieties such as Summer Gold and Gold Strike (orange flesh) are known for their vibrant yellow or orange flesh, sweet flavor, and thin rind.
It is important to note that the specific watermelon varieties that grow best in Texas can vary depending on the climate and growing conditions in your area. It may be best to speak with a local nursery or gardening expert to find out which watermelon varieties are best suited to your specific region.
It is difficult to say exactly what type of watermelon grows best in Texas, as different varieties may grow better in different regions of the state. However, some of the most popular watermelon varieties grown in Texas include:
- Sugar Baby: This is a small, round watermelon that is known for its sweet flavor and crisp texture. It is a popular choice for home gardens because it produces fruit relatively quickly and is easy to grow.
- Jubilee: This is a medium-sized watermelon with a red, sweet flesh and a striped rind. It is a popular variety in Texas because it can tolerate heat and drought well.
- Crimson Sweet: This is a large, oblong watermelon with a deep red flesh and a green rind. It is known for its sweet flavor and is a popular choice for slicing and serving fresh.
- Yellow Doll: This is a small, round watermelon with a yellow flesh and a green rind. It is a popular variety in Texas because it is resistant to many common watermelon pests and diseases.
Texas Cuisine: Watermelons in Restaurants and Recipes
Watermelon is not just for direct consumption. Many Texas restaurants incorporate it into salads, desserts, and beverages. For instance, Austin’s La Condesa is known for its watermelon martinis. In terms of home recipes, consider a Texas-style watermelon salsa or a refreshing watermelon gazpacho for those hot summer days.
Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, Texas offers a diverse range of ways to enjoy watermelons. From buying the freshest melons, sampling different varieties, attending themed events, to even growing your own, the possibilities are as vast as the Texas landscape. Dive in, and savor the sweetness of Texas watermelons this summer.
Appendix: Where To Find The Best Watermelons In Texas
If you don’t want to grow your own, there are many places in Texas where you can find high-quality watermelons, such as local farms, farmers markets, and produce stands. You may also be able to find good watermelons at supermarkets and other grocery stores.
In general, it is best to choose watermelons that are heavy for their size and have a dull, not shiny, rind. This typically indicates that the watermelon is ripe and ready to eat. We put together a list of watermelon growing farms in Texas here:
- American Melon Sales
- Bagley ProduceGoTexanred
- Bailey Farms, Inc.
- Beckwith Produce
- Billy Smith Watermelons
- Borders Melons
- Chip Berry Produce
- Frontera Produce Limited
- Indian Creek Produce
- Jackson Melons
- Javi Farms
- Legacy Growers, Inc.
- Luke Brown Farms
- M and P
- Majestic Produce Sales
- Mandujano Brothers
- Perennial Produce
- Prukop Farms
- Sandia Depot
- Texas Best Watermelons
- Texas Melon Exchange
- Wade Pennington & Sons Co.
- Wallace Farms
- Watermelons Unlimited
- Wiggins Farms LLP