Watermelon Shortage, But Not for This Weekend's Festival in Chipley

It seems that the heavy rains we had earlier this year had an effect on one of Florida's major crops.

Watermelon growers in northwest Florida have seen a decline in their crop over the years with the rising cost of pesticides and fertilizers, but this year it was south Florida that was hit hardest with decrease killing off most of the crop.

The farmers in north Florida dealt with a wet spring and cool nights yielding only half the crop as last year.

Andy Andreasen, the Washington County Agriculture Extension Agent, says the shortage in watermelons have created a demand and driven up the cost.

"Melon prices currently are in the 15 to 18 cents range. Last year this time they were in the four to five cents range, so it should be a real good year for those people that had melons."

Washington County still plans to hold its annual Watermelon Festival in Chipley this weekend. Sponsors say there are plenty of melons on hand for the big event.