Delaware, Maryland watermelon growers focus on New England

08/08/2012 03:34:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

Delaware and Maryland watermelon grower-shippers are promoting their fruit in the Northeast.

Delaware Maryland watermelonMar-Del Watermelon Association Delaware and Maryland watermelon growers are promoting their fruit in some promotions that focus on New England retailers and consumers.In cooperation with the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the Delaware Department of Agriculture, growers in the Mar-Del Watermelon Association are promoting watermelon through an August promotion that focuses on New England.

The promotion involves radio and print advertising with radio spots scheduled to air on a Boston radio stations.

The ads are also scheduled to run on Boston Red Sox Radio network affiliates throughout New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, according to a news release.

The groups plan to promote “Mar-Delicious” watermelon in sales circulars in Boston-area stores including Shaw’s Supermarkets Inc., East Bridgewater, Mass., Stop & Shop Supermarkets, Quincy, Mass., and Whole Foods Market Inc., Austin, Texas.

The Maryland and Delaware agriculture departments financially support the campaign, which also receives money from a U.S. Department of Agriculture specialty crop block grant.

Sponsors say they plan to study the initiative to see how it affect sales, according to the release.

Delaware and Maryland production is booming.

The states’ 4,900 acres of watermelon this year are expected to produce 200 million pounds, a high yield last seen in 2008, according to the release.

This summer’s hot, dry weather helped speed maturity.

New England market consumption is estimated at 100 million pounds, according to the release.

“The New England market, especially Boston, is an important one for our growers and brokers,” Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee said in the release. “This is a good opportunity to support our family farmers and build the regional brand.”



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