- The average farm price for watermelons in 2020 was $16.80 per hundredweight. In the U.S.A., the seasonal average retail price for red-fleshed, non-organic, and seed-type watermelon was about $0.31 to $0.38 per pound. The prices ranged between $0.46 and $0.55 per pound for red-fleshed seedless watermelon. (Source)
- The approximate price range in 2022 is between $0.224 and $0.25 per pound.
- The U.S.A. import price for watermelons in 2019 was $0.50 per kilogram. (Source)
- Over the last few decades, the production and consumption of watermelon have experienced a rise, with its annual per capita consumption standing at around 15.5 pounds in 2019. (Source)
What causes the variation in prices?
The watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) derives its name from its high-water content, which stands at 92% on average. (Source). During the summer period, watermelons are the fruits of the season. You can munch them while grilled, cut in wedges, or wrapped up in prosciutto, but that adds to their high market valuation.
To choose the ripe watermelon in your nearest farmers market, the sellers advise that you look at them by lifting them and turning them instead of thumping and slapping them. For the look, you will use your common senses, in which case the best watermelon is expected to have no bruises and gushes, even though scratches are rarely avoidable.
When lifting, you should bear in mind the 92% of water in the fruit, which should help you in a rough estimation of its purity via the weight.
The essence of turning the fruit is to look at the “ground spot”. This is the section that was in contact with the ground during its ripening. The normal color should be buttery yellow or creamy.
When it is white, it indicates that the watermelon is underripe; when the spot is pink, it should warn you of the probability of the fruit tasting like a cucumber. When the spot is sunflower yellow, the fruit is almost certainly grainy, overripe, or mushy (Source).
Farmers cultivate watermelons solely for the fresh market. For the fruit to reach the market shelves, the large-scale producers who operate more than 20 acres of land each use the services of brokers who make the marketing services available to the producers.
It is not easy to place an actual price on the cost of watermelons. The USDA, though, says that the seeded watermelon costs around 31 and 38 cents for every pound (Source).
In 2020, the average price of watermelons on the farm was $16.80 per cwt. On average, the seasonal retail price at the national level danced around $0.31 and $0.38 for every pound of red-fleshed, non-organic, seeded watermelon.
In comparison, the red-fleshed seedless variety fetched a price that ranged between $0.46 and $0.55 for every pound.
Depending on the average fruit production in every acre and the average price fetched by the fresh watermelon in the market, it is estimated that the fruit producers made a gross income of around $4,400 for every acre in 2019.
Those values, however, vary to a great extent when you compare the individual states and when you make a comparison of the seedless and seeded varieties.
What causes the variation in prices?
The major factor cited in the variation of prices throughout the seasons is the rule of supply and demand. It sees the sales begin at a higher price and then go down as more crops come in. when supplies run low in the summer, the prices are sure to experience another spike.
The location has also been cited for influencing a price variation. This comes amidst reports of the prices fluctuating and varying widely within the same city, from one neighborhood to another. This leaves the data the USDA provides as the best method you can use to approximate the prices of watermelon in your area (Source).
Size and weight are the most determining factors when it comes to pricing. The average watermelon is about 15-20 pounds, but they can range anywhere from 5 to 100 pounds. seedless watermelons typically cost more than seeded varieties.
If you buy it from a foodstand on the street, it will be a bit cheaper than if you bought it from a supermarket. Organic options are usually the most expensive. An organic watermelon means that no pesticides were used during its growth.
When it comes to price, choose what fits your budget the best. If you are looking for an organic option and are willing to pay more, then that is what you should get. If you want a lower price, opt for a seeded watermelon or one from a street foodstand.
Watermelon buying guide
When buying a watermelon, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First, choose a melon that is heavy for its size and has a dull appearance: this indicates that it is ripe and full of juice.
Second, give the melon a thump: it should sound hollow, not dull.
Finally, check for a uniform shape: this means that the watermelon was properly harvested and has no bruising. With these tips in mind, you’re sure to find the perfect watermelon for your summer picnic
Ideally, you should eat your watermelon within a day or two of purchasing it. If you need to store it for longer, keep it in the fridge. Wrap cut watermelon in plastic wrap or store it in a covered container. It should last 2-3 days this way.
Watermelons are mostly water—about 92 percent—but they’re also a good source of vitamins A and C. They also contain lycopene, an antioxidant that may help protect against some types of cancer.
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