|The Bradford Family Farm attracts many interested travelers in August.|
To buy a watermelon, would you drive more than 200 miles? Would you make a two-day roundtrip from Illinois to South Carolina to buy the “heirloom” watermelon that once was believed to be extinct after the 1920s?
I did, and another customer drove across several states for the Bradford watermelon that is being introduced again to chefs, gardeners and food enthusiasts around the world. It is considered to be the tastiest watermelon and has exceptional characteristics such as rich sweetness, delicious flesh, thin rinds, and large fruits (up to 40 pounds).
|A Bradford watermelon in the field before being picked.|
The StoryThe story of the Bradford watermelon is as interesting as the melon itself is revered for its sweetness and flavor. On a blog, Nat Bradford describes how he discovered a book from the 1850s that lists his family’s watermelons as the absolute best of all market melons of the day. That discovery motivated him to learn more about their history and led him to find Prof. David Shields, an expert in Southern foodways.
|Nat Bradford prepares a sample of his pickled watermelon rind with pimento cheese.|
|Customers line up to receive watermelons that had been ordered online weeks earlier.|
|Products from the Bradford Family Farm are ready for sale.|
|If you're taking home more than one, extra trunk space is needed.|
Bradford Family Farm
|More melons are delivered to the sales tent.|
|Nat Bradford washes every watermelon before handing it to a customer.|
|Is it a watermelon or a cucumber? Whatever it is, it's huge.|
|Weeding is not a priority because walking in the patch would compact the soil.|