Raising watermelons as cash crop.

Watermelon by Karen and Brad Emerson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

One source of cash on my grandparent’s farm was raising watermelons, going to town, then selling them for cash. That provided a bit of money for groceries.

Many years ago my dad and his siblings wrote down many of their recollections of growing up on the farm. Hopefully very soon I will republish their remembrances.

Following comments are used with permission.

My Aunt Louise recalled:

Does anybody else remember Dad loading up the wagon and going out to sell watermelons and also storing them in the oats bin for the winter? Those were the best melons—I am sure we wasted lots.

My dad remembered:

Dad growing watermelons on the sandy bottom land. When they were ripe, harvesting a wagon load and the next day, our Dad leaving and driving northward to sell the melons wherever he could, not coming back until the load was gone, to have some cash income.

My cousin Sonia told me the family oral history:

Grandpa Daniel would raise watermelons on the Vermillion River bottom. They were easy to grow, requiring little water and little weeding. When ripe, grandpa would take a wagon into town, leaving the wagon, the melons, and a couple of the boys to sell the melons. At the end of the day, grandpa would come back to pick up the wagon, the boys, some cash, and hopefully no melons. That would provide a few dollars toward the household budget. Family members recall the watermelons were so sweet and tasty.

In those days, one had to hustle to generate a few extra dollars to feed all those hungry mouths.

We can rejoice that we don’t need to sell several dozen watermelons so we can afford a trip to the grocery store.

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