Day two of this summer’s watermelon fiesta started bright and early, though I was a bit slow to the draw at 5 something in the morning. The crop is late this year because it’s been pretty cool and rainy, so even though it’s nearly August, things aren’t quite in full swing yet. That said, we picked quite a few melons.
I love this picture for some reason — the trusty Yanmar watermelon wagon (they used wheel barrels in the old days — some people still use them) with Chieko’s dad thumping melons in the background. The distinct sound of him tapping on melons in the next row, checking which are ready for picking, is one of the more powerful sensory elements of this experience. It’s always there in the background.
If you’ve ever wondered what a fully functioning watermelon field looks like, here you go. The brown patches are clumps of hay used to keep the melons from getting sunburned. This is Japan, remember, the land of beautiful fruit. The best melons from this area sell for about $25 in the supermarket, so it seem very gluttonous during a break in the picking when we slice open a melon and only eat the most delicious and sweet inner core.
And unlikely watermelon picking duo.
I think I’ve mentioned many times that the scenery isnt all that bad out here. I’ll mention it again.
Most of the crop goes to a local co-op to be processed (i.e. polished and sorted by size, weight, and beauty), but Chieko’s parents also do a good deal of private sales. That batch gets unloaded into the barn. There is some rhyme and reason to these piles of watermelons, again based mostly on size, shape, and overall perfection. I can’t say I totally understand the difference though. As we unload melons from the truck, Chieko’s dad tells me which pile to stick them in and I do just that.
So that was our whirlwind watermelon weekend. I was frickin exhausted last night when we got home. I had intended to get this post up yesterday but opted for bed instead. We’ll head back towards the end of next week, by which time most of the melons will probably be gone. Can’t say I’ll be all that disappointed, though I’m sure they’ll find something for me to do!
Vacation is right around the corner, and I’m already waiting.