Local Watermelons Ripe Just In Time For July 4th

Long before a watermelon reaches your July 4th celebration, workers at Courtney Farms in George County are scooping up the pick of the crop.

"Right now is prime time I'd say," co-owner Mike Courtney said.

And when the demand is high for this summertime fruit, Mike Courtney knows how to deliver.

"When it's the peak of the season like this, we can load about eight trailers a day. That's about 1800 melons per load on average," Courtney said.

That's right, about 15,000 melons a day. With all those melons, how do you pick the best one?

When you're trying to pick the perfect melon, the difference is in the appearance.

"If it's a good pretty melon on the outside, more than likely, it will be a good pretty melon on the inside," Courtney said.

Another technique you can use when selecting a watermelon is "thumping" it. If the watermelon sounds hollow, it's ripe. When you press on the melon, if it gives a little, that's also a sign of ripeness. Courtney says the bigger the melon, the easier it is to test if it's ready to eat.

While Courtney is quick to share his secrets for buying the right watermelon, he's holding on to the family secrets for growing them.

"I wouldn't say it's one special thing. It's a combination of small things you do that make it turn out to be a good melon," Courtney said.

From the looks of this crop, there are plenty of good melons making their way to you.