Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – The First Watermelon

My life in appalachia the first watermelon

We had the first watermelon of the summer last week and man was it good. If you live in my neck of the woods-the watermelon came from the fine folks at Foster’s Produce in Peachtree. I really think they should change their name to:  Always nice-always helpful-good people-good prices-Foster’s Produce.

Chitter and me planted at least 30 watermelon plants if not more this year. They’re all looking great at the moment, but I’m sorta worried since we didn’t crawl backward to the patch when we planted them-but I have tried to keep everyone from pointing at them so they won’t fall off the vine if they actually make. (if you don’t know what silliness I’m talking about click here for watermelon folklore)

Ate your first watermelon of the year yet?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    June 19, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Ate one from the grocery store, but I don’t consider those REAL ones, like the ones you can get at roadside stands.
    Let me tell you a funny story about a watermelon. I was born and raised in NW PA where it’s not unusual to have snow for Easter (which is why I don’t live there anymore). Our Sister Pattie found a watermelon seed long about April or May, stuck it in the flower patch next to the back steps, and Lord, if it didn’t come up. It grew and grew, despite the weather up there, and by Independence Day, it was about an 8″ high seedling.
    Our Dad had bought a watermelon for our 4th of July picnic, and as a joke, he put that big old watermelon next to that tiny seedling, then waited. When our Sister Pattie came out and saw that, she shreeked “My Watermelon” and we laughed and laughed. But (though we didn’t know it then) that wasn’t the end of the story.
    Now about 4-5 years ago (some 40-50 years later I guess), we sisters all got together for a Sister’s Reunion at Wilmington Beach, NC. We were all sharing this story and that one, and laughing and laughing, when someone brought up Pattie’s watermelon. We all sat there chatting about it and laughing, while she sat there very quietly, though none of us noticed right off. Suddenly she said, “You mean I didn’t grow that watermelon?” Ohhh, how we laughed, and we still laugh about that one.
    She’s the same one that ate the Bunny Berries; that’s another story I’m going to have to share one day. (She’s gonna kill me. sigh)
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Paul Certo
    June 18, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    We had our first two weeks ago-bought it at the grocery. I don’t think they would ripen up here, but we never tried growing’em.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    June 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    TIPPER: I am so jealous and just have to admit it! We have BLUEBERRY BUSHES covered but with only green berries! Maybe soon I can tell you about my blueberries!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    June 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Not yet, but today’s post sure is making my mouth water for one!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 18, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    When I was little and had enough hair to cut, my daddy would cut it for me. He said I had a head like a watermelon. If that ain’t enough to turn you against watermelon, nothing will!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Pertaining to Jim’s comment about
    Don having a lot of “hot air”,
    you were witness also that another
    couple of blowheads that didn’t
    participate, Lonnie and myself, as
    well as the Deer Hunter. If we
    weren’t too busy working our slice
    of watermelon like a typewriter,
    the outcome could have been much

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    June 18, 2013 at 11:02 am

    There was a gentleman who lived up the road from us who would try to hide his watermelon patch each year. He would always caution us boys to stay out of his watermelons. Claimed to have a few loads of rock salt to pepper behinds with. We plotted and schemed and stole his melons. He would shoot into the air and yell as we ran with our loot.
    I was in my thirties and on leave from the Navy. I asked him where his watermelons were planted. He replied, “I don’t plant watermelons anymore, all the boys these days want to steal is cars.”
    We have watermelons year round in Hawaii. Thay grow any time of the year.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Got one cooling right now.
    Sure hope it’s a good one. We had one delicious cantalope (mushmellon)but can’t find any more that even have a scent at all.
    My brothers raided our slightly deranged uncle’s melon patch & liked to have got in real trouble–looked up & uncle was running toward them with his rifle. They escaped safely & now it’s a family legend.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    June 18, 2013 at 10:22 am

    We got our first watermelon before Memorial Day at the Jocky Lot in Pickins SC…Brought that little baby home to Tennessee and let it cool a day and cut it. It was so good!
    We have had two since then and both were very good. All we have had were seedless or almost seedless!
    I do miss spitting out those giant black seeds…I put out the rinds with the extra seeds in the rind for the birds. The Cardinals especially love them. The other birds will eat the rind. Of course the chickens love them too.
    When I was a young girl we had watermelon at a family picnic, and I swallowed a big seed. Scared me to death. Have you ever heard the old wives tale about swallowing a watermelon seed would cause you to have a baby?
    Don’t know what it caused if boys swallowed them!
    Thanks Tipper,
    I remember a big long stiped watermelon dripping wet cold, spreading the picnic table with newspaper, several shakers of salt, a huge butcher knife and when the man of the family cut it, it made that sound that only a ripe watermelon can make. Yummmmm! What a hot picnic day treat!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I bought a watermelon about 2 weeks ago at Foodcity. The inside was panty pink and the inside reminded me of eating cardboard. Used to love watermelon but not so sure anymore. Where is Hondorous?

  • Reply
    June 18, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I haven’t had a watermelon yet,
    soon I hope. But my brother brought
    me a couple of Cantalopes he got
    in the Piedmont this past weekend.
    My favorite is the Texas Ambrosia!
    I planted about 20 Watermelons this
    year, never tried that before. I
    just hope the rabbits leave me some,
    if they make…Ken

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 18, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Tipper–I think we are on our fifth watermelon, and if there’s ever been a soul who loved it better than me, it had to be my Grandpa Joe. He’d tote one home from town in a tow sack well before the ones he grew were ripe, put it in a wash tub filled with ice water, and a few hours we were sampling culinary heaven.
    As for Ethelene’s question about purloining watermelons, I think I’ll plead the Fifth Amendment. However, Daddy loved to relate a tale about a fellow who was having trouble with boys stealing his melons. He put up a big sign which read” “I’ve injected one of these melons with poison.” I doubt if that was the case, but according to Daddy, it solved the problem.
    Still on watermelons, how many of you have participated in seed spitting contests? Brother Don is a sho’ nuf seed spitting champion, but that may come from a surplus of hot air (I’m sure to get blowback on that comment). However, Ken can attest to his seed spitting prowess.
    Similarly, do you remember when melon sellers were willing to “plug” one to prove it was ripe, and if it wasn’t, they’d go to another one. I would be mighty surprised if you could get any merchant to do that today.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    June 18, 2013 at 9:07 am

    That was interesting! I didn’t realize that watermelons were ready so early. You can tell I’m not a very knowledgeable farmer. Glad you enjoyed it! I’ll look for a small one in the store.

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    June 18, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Remember how you used to be able to have the store or watermelon patch owner cut a plug out of the watermelon you wanted to buy so you could see if it was ripe or not? Just try to get that to happen today.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Ron-yes always salt : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    June 18, 2013 at 8:23 am

    We had one a couple of weeks ago and it was nothing to brag about. It came from the store and no telling where from. My daddy would have said it was tolable. Meaning you could eat it but was not the beast by far. Some fellows down the road from work grow some each year down in the river bottoms. I can’t wait until they come in because they are always wonderful. Do you put salt on your melon? I like mine without it.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Watermelons are truly a gift from God. Only God could have created watermelons. (and all the other things, too)

  • Reply
    June 18, 2013 at 7:53 am

    There’s nothing like a sweet, juicy cold watermelon. Like to cut out chunks of it and put it in a container in the frig. Oh so good in this hot weather.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    June 18, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Did anybody ever “steal” a watermelon from someone else’s watermelon patch? I didn’t ever steal one, but I must admit to eating a stolen watermelon! And even though feeling somewhat guilty for my complicity in the act by helping to eat it, it was actually my brother Bluford and his best friend Rex from next door, an inseparable pair back then in friendship and pranks, who stole that watermelon from Uncle Harve’s patch. It really tasted good on that hot summer day. They had put it in the spring branch to cool before we ate it! Did Uncle Harve find out? I’m sure he missed his fine melon, and probably suspected who the guilty thieves were–but we didn’t hear anything about it from him! I think he just marked it up as a childhood prank, and probably remembered how he had done the same when he was young.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    June 18, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Haven’t my first watermelon this year yet.
    When I was a kid, we went to a guy who was a butcher. My uncle had delivered a Black Angus yearling calf to him and we were there to tell him what cuts of beef we wanted. When we got done, he brought us a watermelon that was a batch he was trying to develop. He only asked that we return to him whatever seeds we found. There were only less than a dozen seeds in it, which we returned to him. I have wondered if I got to eat one of the first seedless watermelons and if he was the guy who developed the strain. I know that it was DELICIOUS. This occurred in the mid-1960s.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2013 at 7:39 am

    I have never had any luck with watermelon growing in WV. Perhaps, season not long enough here, nights too cool,or green thumb not working.
    I have always heard our taste changes every seven years. I am so Appalachian to the bone that I am not sure if that is a saying unique to Appalachia. Anyway, I would not touch watermelon for years, then suddenly watermelon became one of my favorites.
    Since most of our old vegetable markets are long gone, we have to buy from the supermarket. These tend to be a little under ripe. If any of your readers have sure-fire ways to select watermelon, I would love to add them to my list of watermelon selection rules. I have a few rules that help me to enjoy good watermelon. I always pick out the ugliest (slightly sun-bleached), smell the watermelon, and lastly I bring it home and place it somewhere slightly shaded to finish ripening; it is placed as if still lying naturally under its leaves in the field. Works every time! Usually easier to pick out a ripe cantaloupe as you can smell them when you enter the produce section, and they usually slap them on sale before they ruin.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 18, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Oh Tipper, I do love watermelon, just like you do. I have not had my first watermelon yet this year, but I’ll be doing it very soon. My mother always said the watermelons weren’t any good till after the 4th of July.
    I never make it that long, I’ll be buying one soon.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 18, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Yes, we are on the second. Love my watermelon.

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