(FOX 51) - Tyler, TX — What better way to kick off summer by cracking open a ripe watermelon? Local grower, Bobby Jones, could not agree more. "Nearly anyone likes watermelons.I can eat watermelon for breakfast, supper, dinner, and then some later on in the night," said Jones. For more than 30 years, he's kept an East Texas tradition alive by setting up a stand here in Quitman. One regular at the stand said, "Mr. Jones has the best produce in Wood County." Jones sells everything from tomatoes to cantaloupe, but he said watermelon are always top sellers. He also is a watermelon lover himself, he said, "I grew up on the farm, we raised watermelons, and even as a boy, I just never got to the place that I didn't like watermelons."
"I would imagine anyone that's grown up around here, grew up on them," said Dennis Oefinger, a local grower and seller. He also said, as the thermostat rises, so do the sales in watermelon. "Typically Memorial Day is the first really big weekend in the year, and watermelons are fairly popular,' said Oefinger. He added, peak sales are the July 4th, but expect a later melon season because the winter weather that swept across our state. "This year has been a little bit of a late season, right now we don't have any local melons," said Oefinger.
Late season or not, Jones said he will find watermelons to make his customers happy. "To me its just fun to satisfy customers," said Jones. Also, if you're wondering how to pick the perfect watermelon, here's some tips. Oefinger said to tap or thump on the melon, and “the softer it is on the inside, the more of the thud you're going to get, and the softer means more ripe, and so you just give them a thump.” He said whichever fruit makes the deepest sound, is the ripest.