City of Valley holds annual Free Watermelon Day

Published 7:30 am Saturday, August 15, 2020

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VALLEY — Valley Parks & Recreation hosted a different kind of Free Watermelon Day underneath the Farmer’s Market Pavilion Friday afternoon.

In past years, VPR Director Laurie Blount and volunteers would have a watermelon cutting on a large table and give everyone standing in line a slice.

This year attendees were given small pieces of red meat watermelons inside zip lock bags.

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Even Free Watermelon Day has given way to being extra careful because of COVID-19.

“We want to thank Walter Pulliam and Steele Farms of Shorter, Alabama for providing the watermelons,” Blount said. “I cut up the watermelons this morning and put the slices in baggies. They’ve been kept in a cooler since then.”

Pulliam is in his 38th year of growing watermelons on his farm near LaFayette.

“We have had a good crop this year,” he said. “We have the Jubilee red meats and the Yellow Crimson Sweets.”

Some of his light and dark green striped Jubilees were in the 40-pound range. The Yellow Crimson Sweets were smaller than a basketball but very sweet to the taste.

The watermelons he brought for sale easily filled a trailer.

Maya Finley of Finley Farm, Camp Hill, brought enough Crimson Sweets to fill up the back of a pickup truck.

Jimmy Dykes had the back end of his pickup truck filled with the extra tender variety of sweet yellow corn he grows in an eight-acre field in Beulah.

“I’ve been farming since I was 18,” he said. “I’m 63 now.”

One of the more interesting tables at the market is that of Randall and Laura McClellan of Circle M Farms in Fredonia. They have dozens of jars of fresh jelly that Laura makes.

On Friday, they had some Elderberry that she made this week. It’s homegrown, and she makes it from wild elderberries.

There’s usually between seven to nine vendors at each Friday afternoon session of Valley Farmer’s Market. The 3 to 6 p.m. Friday markets will continue through this month.