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Market Blog

August 2, 2016

Tips and Tricks for Choosing the Sweetest Watermelon

Summertime at the Nashville Farmers' Market is where shoppers find the freshest watermelon grown by local farmers. Yet, many folks are still befuddled when it comes to choosing the best one. Some like to thump, and others swear by the stripes, and many aren't sure how to approach the decision at all. Therefore, we’ve put together this handy-dandy guide to help you navigate your way through the process. By following these helpful tips and tricks, you'll increase your chances of scoring the sweetest melon every visit to the Nashville Farmers' Market.

The brighter the yellow spot, the better. Some folks feel the yellow spot on a watermelon is unsightly, yet it is the best indicator of sweetness, according to expert watermelon farmer Jerry Simon. The "belly spot" or "field spot" marks the side of the melon that sat in the field and touched the ground far away from the sun's rays. If the watermelon was picked immaturely, the yellow spot will be light or nonexistent. But if the melon spent a longer time ripening on the vine, the yellow spot will be big and bright, and the sugars will have developed much more robustly. So don’t dismiss a spotty melon!

Don't thump--lift! Lifting is the key to choosing a watermelon that is ripe and filled with juice. Many folks believe that thumping is the way to go, yet deep, hollow sounds can be difficult to determine. Therefore, we suggest flexing your melon muscles and giving that baby a lift! A watermelon that is heavy for its size is an excellent indicator of a pick that is ripe and filled with juice.

Symmetry = Beauty. A beautiful melon is a symmetrical one. Scratch that…a ripe, juicy, sweet watermelon is often a symmetrical one! That's because misshapen watermelons are often due to inadequate pollination, and can mean that the fruit did not mature properly. Therefore, choose a supreme melon that is symmetrical and blunt on both ends instead of pointy or underdeveloped.

Ask your farmer! There is no better way to learn about the food we eat than from the people who grow it. The Nashville Farmers' Market has more farmers participating now than it has had in decades, serving as a venue where shoppers can find the freshest farm food and learn a thing or two from the experts. So strike up a conversation with a farmer the next time you're at the Nashville Farmers' Market. They’ll be happy to teach you everything you've ever dreamed of knowing about watermelon, including how to choose the sweetest one!