According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, as of 2010, only sixteen percent of grocery stores still sell watermelons with seeds. That’s a forty-two percent decline from 2003.
What’s more is their alarming prediction. The board states that within a generation, children won’t even know watermelons are meant to come studded with shiny black seeds, reports The Washington Post.
The sea change is all in the service of convenience. “People don’t eat watermelon out of hand like they used to. They like to eat it in fruit salads,” said Robert Schueller, the public relations director for Melissa’s Produce, a California distributor that sells only 10 percent of its watermelons with seeds. “It’s a question of ease, time, and there’s the safety factor. Kids could choke on the seeds.”
The seedless watermelon phenomenon would be a lot more worrisome for farmers if they still needed the seeds to pollinate watermelon crops, but produce growers have developed non-bearing pollinators.
Essentially, they plant another hybrid (in place of old watermelons) that produces the flowers bees need but no actual fruit.
Photo by gratineeblog.com.