Celebrate Summer with Watermelon!

By Amy Beeler Herman, The Lacek Group

Watermelons are as All-American as a Norman Rockwell lithograph. Often a favorite menu item at summer gatherings are wonderful, juicy watermelon. The biggest weekend for watermelon sales are during Independence Day weekend. Impress your friends and family with the following watermelon trivia facts at your next summer picnic!
• Watermelon is not a fruit—it is cousin to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
• The first watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt and is depicted in hieroglyphics. Watermelons were placed in tombs for nourishment in the afterlife.
• One of the most varied of all melons, watermelon has some 200 varieties grown in 44 states.
• According to Guinness World Records, the world’s heaviest watermelon was grown by Lloyd Bright of Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 2005, His giant watermelon weighed in at 268.8 lbs at the Annual Hope, Arkansas Big Watermelon Contest.
• The seedless watermelon is a sterile hybrid which is created by crossing male watermelon pollen containing 22 chromosomes per cell, with a female watermelon flower with 44 chromosomes per cell. When this fruit matures, the small, white seed coats inside contain 33 chromosomes, rendering it sterile and incapable of producing seeds. The seed coats are safe to eat.