Only in Sussex County

August 18, 2014

This could only happen in Sussex County. During a 15-minute delay at the start of the Aug. 12 Sussex County Council meeting, the discussion gravitated to watermelon.

Councilman Vance Phillips – a watermelon farmer from Laurel – filled the time void by posing questions about melons to the audience and awarding melons to those who had the correct answers.

As a former watermelon picker myself, I found the conversation interesting. And I learned that seedless watermelons hold up much longer than seeded melons once they are picked.

I may not have the total science down pat, but melons with seeds essentially feed on the seeds for future growth, which leads to break down and decay in the melon itself. Without the seeds, that process does not occur; seedless melons are in prime eating condition even three to four weeks after they are picked.

Those black seeds are becoming a thing of the past. According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, only 16 percent of watermelons sold in grocery stores have seeds; down from 43 percent 10 years ago.

And seed-spitting contests could also become a thing of the past as well.

  • Ron MacArthur has lived and worked in Sussex County all his life. As a journalist for more than 40 years, he has covered everything from county and town meetings to presidential visits. He also has a unique perspective having served as an elected official and lived on both sides of the county.

    Contact Ron at