Farmers ripe with anticipation after perfect watermelon weather - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Farmers ripe with anticipation after perfect watermelon weather

CAVE CITY, AR (KAIT) - Ripe watermelons are cracking open earlier than ever in Region 8, and it's all due to a record warm winter and spring.

It led to an unusually early planting season, and who would know better than a Cave City native by the name of George Carter, who is located right in the heart of watermelon country.

"I'm 64, and I've been raising them all my life. I Started handling watermelons when I was 12 years old."

Carter says he has never seen such an early harvest.

So early, in fact, that he almost slipped up and waited too long to harvest.

"This year, I'm almost three weeks earlier than I was last year. I haven't even started picking last year, on this day. I started the 12th."

Watermelon prices are going up, but it reflects the back-breaking work leading up to the harvest.

So far this summer, Carter has battled cucumber beetles, extreme drought and scorching temperatures.

"The heat is hurting watermelons worse than the drought. They grow out of the vine and that sun shines on them when it gets 100-plus degrees, it'll burn the top of it."

Despite these hardships, the watermelon crop is looking better than what Carter expected.

"I don't think it's going to be a bumper crop, but I'm not complaining about it."

Conditions are also ripe for the 33rd annual Cave City Watermelon Festival.

It's going so well that all ten registered gourd farmers located along main street are planning to donate up to 6,000 pounds of the beloved summer mainstay.

Carter says the crowd grows larger every year, and expects an even more people for this year's 33rd Annual Watermelon Festival.

 The event is scheduled to kick off with watermelon judging followed by performances by Rockin' Luke Stroud and American Idol finalist Lauren Gray.

For a full rundown of the 33rd Annual Cave City Watermelon Festival times and events, click here.

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.

  • Region 8 News</span><a class="customMoreLink" href="/Global/category.asp?C=4391" target="_top">More >></a>Region 8 NewsMore>>

  • Medicaid work mandate will create uncertainty in some states

    Medicaid work mandate will create uncertainty in some states

    Saturday, January 13 2018 11:01 AM EST2018-01-13 16:01:55 GMT
    Wednesday, January 17 2018 9:57 AM EST2018-01-17 14:57:05 GMT
    Several mostly Republican-leaning states are lining up to implement work or job-training requirements for certain Medicaid recipients now that the Trump administration has allowed it.
    Several mostly Republican-leaning states are lining up to implement work or job-training requirements for certain Medicaid recipients now that the Trump administration has allowed it.
  • TRAFFIC ALERT: Construction could impact commute in Cleburne County

    TRAFFIC ALERT: Construction could impact commute in Cleburne County

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 8:35 AM EST2018-01-17 13:35:43 GMT
    Wednesday, January 17 2018 8:49 AM EST2018-01-17 13:49:55 GMT
    (Source: AP Graphics Bank)(Source: AP Graphics Bank)

    According to the Arkansas Department of Transportation, Section 3 of state HWY 25 will be closed because of construction of a dam.

    According to the Arkansas Department of Transportation, Section 3 of state HWY 25 will be closed because of construction of a dam.

  • Lawmakers: Gov. Greitens' affair distracts from tax effort

    Lawmakers: Gov. Greitens' affair distracts from tax effort

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 8:32 AM EST2018-01-17 13:32:44 GMT
    (Source: MO.gov)(Source: MO.gov)

    Missouri lawmakers say Gov. Eric Greitens' admission that he had an extramarital affair is distracting from legislative efforts to change tax laws in the state.

    Missouri lawmakers say Gov. Eric Greitens' admission that he had an extramarital affair is distracting from legislative efforts to change tax laws in the state.

Powered by Frankly