Watermelon harvest is around the corner in the central Florida panhandle, but is actually a week or two late.
This slight delay in harvest is due to the near 100 degree temperatures and lack of pollinators present. Flowers have been closing early in the day due to heat, and this further reduces pollination. If daily highs ease off the from the 100 degree mark, pollination should improve. Watermelons are running and flowering well due to the plentiful rain a little more than a week ago. In Washington and Holmes counties, melon cutting should begin sometime between June 20th and June 26th. USDA reports slow movement of harvest as of June 10th but a higher volume will be ready to move around June 20th. As of June 14th , wholesale prices in the central Florida Panhandle were between 15-20 cents per pound of melon and retail was around 30-35 cents per pound. This translates roughly to a $3.00 wholesale and $6.00 retail price for a 20 pound melon. As harvests improve and more melons hit the market, these prices could change. Market price observations are just that, observations. Prices vary due to local availability. For updated market reports on a regional and state level, check the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.
Don’t forget about the Panhandle Watermelon Festival in Chipley, Florida on June 29th!