Andhra Pradesh Watermelons Bring Summer to Chennai in February - The New Indian Express

Andhra Pradesh Watermelons Bring Summer to Chennai in February

Published: 26th February 2014 07:24 AM

Last Updated: 26th February 2014 07:44 AM

Stacks of watermelons spread on pavements and slices of the juicy red fruit under nets, waiting to be bitten into by a thirsty traveller – these images remind us of summer and the blistering heat that usually characterises the month of May. But the calendar says otherwise.

Watermelons, a fruit usually associated with summer, have started popping up in street corners and fruit and vegetable markets in the city as early as the first week of February. Though the season is usually from April to May, fruit sellers claim that the melons have been arriving early for the past couple of years.

“Usually, the early loads of the fruit arrive only by April or late March. Even then, they cost a lot. So we go to Andhra Pradesh and bring back watermelons early so that we can make some profit,” says Moorthy, a watermelon seller.

The fruit, which costs anywhere between `7,000 and `9,000 per ton, are sourced from various places in Andhra Pradesh by the sellers, who make it a point to buy it early. “Once April comes around, mango season begins and watermelons usually lose demand,” says Kumar, who has been selling fruit in Kilpauk for the past 23 years.

As the heat gradually increases during the summer, the prices of watermelons too go up. This is because high temperatures are not conducive to grow the fruit. “We can’t afford it. So it is sold elsewhere for higher prices. That’s why the fruit gradually disappears during April and May,” says Kumar, who adds that he bought his load from Cuddapah in Andhra Pradesh for `7,500 a ton.

The melons are currently priced at `15 per kilo. “A single ton gives us just 150 to 160 fruit, so it’s not much,” says Moorthy.

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