Just about the time July rolls around and our thoughts turn to celebrations of liberty and freedom, watermelon farmers across North Carolina are getting in gear for the height of their harvest.”The season runs from around July 4 into September for certain varieties,” according to Nick Augostini, with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “N.C. watermelons have been excellent so far this year.”He added, “It’s tough to remember now, but there was a short period at the beginning of the summer there where it got cooler, but farmers are really moving their produce now.”Watermelons can grow in a wide range of soil types, but they prefer sandy soil, making our coastal plain the best place to find the highest concentration of watermelon growers in the state. This juicy summer treat packs a vitamin punch since it is high in vitamin B6, C, and potassium.The State Farmers Market hosted Watermelon Day on Thursday, July 28 and invited the public to sample slices, meet the reigning 2016 Watermelon Queen, and take in the hard work and heft the growers brought in for the largest watermelon contest.In North Carolina more than 950 farms grow watermelons, making us the eighth largest producer of watermelons in the nation.Looking toward August there’s even more watermelon goodness to celebrate. From August 3-6, The Murfreesboro Historical Association will host their annual North Carolina Watermelon Festival, and from August 25-27, Winterville will host the 31st Winterville Watermelon Festival.
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