SC Commissioner Weathers: South Carolina Watermelon Meeting and Update

The South Carolina Watermelon Association holds its annual convention this week, which means it’s time to talk watermelon.

The meeting is January 19–21, 2024 at Hilton Head.

This is always an action-packed meeting, with educational sessions; networking with retailers, growers, and allied industry representatives; an auction to raise funds for research and promotion; and the crowning of 2024 South Carolina Watermelon Queen!

The 2023 South Carolina watermelon season was a successful one. Here are some things to take away from it:

The season started out not so good thanks to an unexpected cold snap in May and an overabundance of rain in the beginning of June.

  • Due to watermelons requiring a certain number of days above a specific temperature before the fruit will set, growers were waiting longer than normal to harvest.
  • Then, when the fruit was ready, that rain came in and put a hold on harvest and worried growers about disease and fruit quality.

Although input costs were higher than ever, the return was even higher.

To say marketing efforts were back in full swing for South Carolina’s watermelon industry would be an understatement.

  • COVID really put a stop to promoting the staple summertime commodity, but this is the first year everything went completely back to normal.
  • With the help of the South Carolina Watermelon Queen, we made more in-store promotions than EVER before.