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The Art of the Thump! :-)

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Since this is the Watermelon season (our parrish/county hosts a yearly Watermelon Festival in June), I thought I add this Sunday's local front-page article from a small town not far (just 'down-a-piece'), from my town of DeRidder...called Sugartown (known as the best melons all over the state). :w00t:

You know...Mr. Hester does have the look (mustache, straw hat, collared shirt, vest and cigar), of a 'sentimental southern gentleman'. :thumbsup:

By Rachel Steffan - Editor - Beauregard Daily News - 7 Jul 18

"The best method to check the ripeness of a watermelon is to thump the rind either an index or middle finger, according to one Sugartown native.

John Hester grew up in the center of Sugartown, a stone’s throw from a watermelon stand.

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Hester says if the “thump” produces a hollow thud-like sound, it is probably ripe. On the other end of the ripeness spectrum, the sound of a green melon, when thumped, resembles a klink or ping sound.

A good way to remember the difference is “ping” and “pong.” A green melon produces a “ping,” whereas a “pong” resonates from a ripe one, Hester said.

He claims that an over-ripe melon can be identified by a thumping sound. “If it makes a thick, dull, thud sound, the melon has probably gotten too ripe,” Hester said.

As a boy growing up in Sugartown, working in the fields was almost inevitable.

During the watermelon season, Hester worked for the Lacy, McDonald and Harpers families, harvesting the melons by hand.

After the melons were loaded onto trucks, Hester would help to peddle them all over the state.

He would regularly ride through the streets on the back of a truck loaded with melons. He would call out to residents: “Sugartown watermelon, sweet as honey! Come buy yours their with the money!”

Hester was often dropped off at busy intersections in southern Louisiana towns, to sell a load of watermelons. He would call out to passing vehicles: “I’m John! John the Watermelon Man! Come get yours here at my watermelon stand.”

Hester recalls this to be hot, hard and tiresome work. Nevertheless, it was a fun way to make a few bucks. And he could eat all the watermelon he wanted for free".

Works Cited: Beauregard Daily News - The Art of the Thump

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"When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat". Mark Twain
 
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simon1

Self Ignored by Vista
SWMBO picked one up yesterday, and it sounded kinda okay, but upon slicing I think it's a bit underdone.

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SWMBO picked one up yesterday, and it sounded kinda okay, but upon slicing I think it's a bit underdone.

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Looks OK, but texture is really the key.

Lots of memories reading that article.As a young boy, I spent summers on my grandfather's farm. Major summer crop was watermelon and cantaloupe. I was driving the tractor thru the melon field at age 8, while my father picked them. The thump is useful, but my grandfather said he only did it for the city folk who would drive out to the country to get fresh watermelons on the weekends! He said they expected it, so he did it, but neither he or my did it when picking them. All by sight and feel. You get pretty good after picking several hundred thousand of them.

We really got spoiled. Would cut one, eat the center where there were no seeds, throw the rest over the fence to the hogs and cut another. You can do that when you have several wagon loads sitting around! I'm also convinced the old varieties tasted much sweeter. Back then (early 60's) 75 to 100 lb melons were not unusual. They eventually became harder to sell because people wanted to put them into the refrigerator, so smaller and smaller varieties, and especially seedless hybrids were developed.
 
"Never trust the thump." Is what I was instructed. I was in the store looking for a watermelon and this big stereotypical texan (big cowboy hat, western style suit, cowboy boots) handed me his card. Turns out he was the owner of the farm that supplied the watermelons to the Basha's Supermarket chain. He said to look for the "bee stings". These would be the black marks on the outer rind. He said this was the sugar coming out. He called them bee stings. Thick black marks means lots of sugar. This advice has not failed me yet.
 

simon1

Self Ignored by Vista
"Never trust the thump." Is what I was instructed. I was in the store looking for a watermelon and this big stereotypical texan (big cowboy hat, western style suit, cowboy boots) handed me his card. Turns out he was the owner of the farm that supplied the watermelons to the Basha's Supermarket chain. He said to look for the "bee stings". These would be the black marks on the outer rind. He said this was the sugar coming out. He called them bee stings. Thick black marks means lots of sugar. This advice has not failed me yet.

I do believe you are right. I didn't get a pic. of the melon SWMBO picked up before it was sliced, but she said it wasn't sweet enough.
 
I'm also convinced the old varieties tasted much sweeter. Back then (early 60's) 75 to 100 lb melons were not unusual. They eventually became harder to sell because people wanted to put them into the refrigerator, so smaller and smaller varieties, and especially seedless hybrids were developed.

I think the seeded varieties are sweeter.
 
"Never trust the thump." Is what I was instructed. I was in the store looking for a watermelon and this big stereotypical texan (big cowboy hat, western style suit, cowboy boots) handed me his card. Turns out he was the owner of the farm that supplied the watermelons to the Basha's Supermarket chain. He said to look for the "bee stings". These would be the black marks on the outer rind. He said this was the sugar coming out. He called them bee stings. Thick black marks means lots of sugar. This advice has not failed me yet.
Nate:
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...great advice on looking for the 'bee stings' on melons. :thumbsup:

Having really never mastered the 'art of the thump', I'm a believer that big or small, the watermelon should be uniform, round shaped, feel heavy for its size and dull in color and
not shiny.

I look for the yellow 'field' spot (watermelons develop this spot where they rest on the ground)...when this spot is creamy yellow, it's ripe.

Also, if they have 'pig tails' on the end...I look for the ones that's dried (ripe), and not green (not ripe).
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"The true Southern watermelon is a boon apart, and not to be mentioned with commoner things. It is chief of this world's luxuries. [...]". Mark Twain
 
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