Oklahoma Fruit of the Month: Watermelon
"When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat."
Watermelon is a warm season crop that thrives in Oklahoma's long growing season. Acreage for watermelon has been the second largest for a vegetable crop in our state for many years. The southern pea is number one. Watermelon production is concentrated in central and south-central Oklahoma. In 2015 Oklahoma watermelons added $7 million to our state's economy and ranked number 16 in value of all Oklahoma agricultural commodities. Oklahoma ranked 12th in the nation in the production of watermelon in 2015. (Source: Oklahoma Agricultural Statistics)
More from Mark Twain on watermelon, from his Autobiography, Vol. 1:
I know how a prize watermelon looks when it is sunning its fat rotundity among pumpkin vines and "simblins;"* I know how to tell when it's ripe without "plugging"** it; I know how inviting it looks when it is cooling itself in a tub of water under the bed, waiting; I know how it looks when it lies on the table in the sheltered great floor-space between house and kitchen, and the children gathered for the sacrifice and their mouths watering; I know the crackling sound it makes when the carving knife enters its end, and I can see the split fly along in front of the blade as the knife cleaves its way to the other end; I can see the halves fall apart and display the rich red meat and the black seeds, and the heart standing up, a luxury fit for the elect; I know how a boy looks, behind a yard long slice of that melon, and I know how he feels for I have been there. I know the watermelon which has been honestly come by and I know the taste of the watermelon which has been acquired by art. Both taste good, but the experienced know which tastes best.
*a type of squash
**sampling a section of the melon to test for flavor
- The Oklahoma State Legislature has declared watermelon Oklahoma's state vegetable. What do you think? Is it Fruit or Vegetable? Discuss why it should or should not be our state vegetable.
- Write instructions for selecting the best watermelon or other melon from the grocery store.
The Watermelon Patch Song
On the vine, (Curve hands and arms beside body.)
On the vine,
Sweet and red and juicy, (Rub your tummy.)
Sweet and red and juicy,
Please be mine! (Palms together as though pleading.)
Please be mine!
Thump, thump, thump, (Make a thumping movement with thumb and middle finger.)
Thump, thump, thump,
I think you are ready- (Point, resting finger on your temple.)
I think you are ready-
Big and plump! (Make a circle with your arms.)
Bug and plump!
- Ants on the Melon (Virginia Hamilton Adair)
- Fiesta Melons (Sylvia Plath)
- Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle Received From a Friend Called Felicity (John Tobias)
- Watermelons (Charles Simic)