HERMISTON, Ore. (AP) _ This summer’s hot weather has been good for the watermelon crop in Hermiston, with farmers harvesting a couple of weeks ahead of schedule.
The East Oregonian newspaper says (http://is.gd/QFexyV ) triple-digit temperatures during the day and cool nights in the region help produce sweeter melons.
Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center’s Phil Hamm says the melons take in heat during the day, which is turned into sugar as a source of energy. At night, the respiration process slows down and all that sugar gets stored.
Hamm said nights in Hermiston are cool enough to allow the melons to retain more sugar, giving local fruits their distinctive sweeter flavor.
Harvest typically lasts through early October with sales peaking around Labor Day.