Cooler growing conditions and other factors resulted in watermelon shipments, both domestic and imports, being 13 percent lower in late March than a year ago, but volume now is on the rise.
Peak shipments for seedless watermelons typically occur during June. The latest USDA statistics are for 2017, when in June of that year 28 percent of the US. domestic seedless watermelon loadings took place, followed closely by July with 25 percent and August with 22 percent. May accounted for 16 percent of the volume.
Georgia was the nation’s leading domestic shipper of seedless watermelons in 2017, accounting for 22 percent of the total volume.
Other leading shippers by state for 2017 were:
- Florida, 18 percent;
- California, Indiana and Texas, all 12 percent each;
- Missouri, 5 percent;
- North Carolina, 4 percent;
- Delaware and South Carolina, both at 3 percent.
Imported watermelon supplies are shipped to the U.S. the year around, but are mainly concentrated in a few months. Representing about one third the total of annual domestic shipments, import volume of watermelons peaks in April (36 percent of annual imported volume), followed by May (21 percent), March (12 percent), October (11 percent) and February (7 percent).
Mexico accounts for the vast majority of imported seedless watermelons, representing 79 percent of total annual imports in 2017. Other important suppliers to the U.S. market are Guatemala (12 percent) and Honduras (7 percent).
Mexican crossings through south Texas are just wrapping up, and are followed by shipments from south Florida near Immokalee and then moving north through other growing districts.
Pacific Trellis Fruit/Dulcinea, of Reedley, CA reports its mini seedless watermelons transitioned from Mexico into Arizona in late April and early May, to be followed by shipments from California’s Central San Joaquin Valley.
While the company’s primary shipments originate from the West Coast, it also grows melons in Texas, Colorado, Florida and North Carolina.
Southern and central Florida vegetable and watermelon shipments – grossing about $3800 to New York City.