In California"s Imperial Valley, Five Crowns Marketing in Brawley is adding a watermelon deal out of Mexico to go with its existing corn, cantaloupe, honeydew and variety melon programs, said Daren Van Dyke, director of sales and marketing.
Watermelon is "a natural fit" for the company, which has one of the largest corn operations in the lower desert, he said.
"We already do so much business for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July that it really is a good addition to our product mix," Van Dyke said.
"When we have the watermelons and the corn, we"re like a one-stop shop for the major holidays."
Five Crowns also has a domestic Arizona watermelon deal, and will grow mini watermelons in the Imperial Valley in June before moving up to Manteca and Mendota for the post-June period.
In addition, the company is increasing its cantaloupe acreage because of the good response its Origami cantaloupe variety has received, he said.
An early start was anticipated.
"Last year was the second year when we actually started domestic production in April, and this will be the third year," Van Dyke said in mid-April.
He expected cantaloupes to start be the end of April.
"We"ll be going strong by the second week of May," he said.
Van Dyke expected a better year than last year for the company"s honeydew and variety melons.
"Last year was a disease year, so we lost pretty much our entire variety melon crop," he said.
"This year, everything looks clean and healthy."