Thursday is national Watermelon Day and we’re celebrating with a Sumter family whose legacy is watermelon.
Bradford Watermelons out of Sumter date back to the 1850s and are known as some of the sweetest in the South. Back then, Nathaniel Bradford developed a unique watermelon breed that was known as the sweetest and most flavorful, right down to its dark green skin.
But that skin was too soft to ship the watermelons very far.
By the early 1900s, however, watermelons had been developed with hard, thick skins and tough rinds at the sacrifice of flavor, but they made growers more money because they were able to be shipped without much damage.
So the Bradford watermelon fell out of cultivation and became lost to the annals of history.
Although the commercial line disappeared, the Bradford family never stopped growing the original watermelon.
Recently “rediscovered,” the Bradford Family Watermelon and its unique products are being introduced to chefs, gardeners and food enthusiasts around the world.
Money raised from the watermelon sales goes to developing countries to dig fresh water wells and provide medication to treat waterborne illnesses through the Bradford’s Watermelons for Water program.
Watermelon sales have provided funding for the drilling of fresh water wells in Tanzania and Bolivia. Plus, our watermelon seeds provide a simple crop to cultivate which gives the people a watermelon full of naturally purified water.