August 20, 2020


Watermelon Farm

About a month ago I was talking to a friend about the sunflower pictures and how I hope to have (𝑺𝑷𝑶𝑰𝑳𝑬𝑹 𝑨𝑳𝑬𝑹𝑻) cotton mini sessions in the fall. She loved the idea of course and said I should specialize in field/agricultural photography. As a farm wife that was a bit of a no-brainer to me so I began dreaming of other fields to shoot in and researching locations.

𝑭𝒂𝒔𝒕 𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒘𝒂𝒓𝒅 to a week and a half ago and I got a call from an old coworker and friend. Her grandfather has a watermelon and cantaloupe patch he has farmed for many many years. As a 90 𝒚𝒆𝒂𝒓 𝒐𝒍𝒅 he is looking to pass on the knowledge and labor intensive work to her. She needed a session with her family in the field with her grandfather. 𝑰𝑻 𝑾𝑨𝑺 𝑷𝑬𝑹𝑭𝑬𝑪𝑻! Many of you have probably eaten Mr. Swanson's watermelon and cantaloupe and not even known it. Others drive to his secluded piece of paradise everyday to buy from the table in his yard.

As the four generations walked through the patch, they showed me the process for harvesting the melons. From the years of experience he can visually tell which melons to check and which still need time. When he spotted one he liked he would thump it then roll it over for the others to grab. Then they load them up and take them back to the farmhouse to be sold. Occasionally he splits one open to test, then they snack on fresh watermelon while they work in the hot sun. Typically the season lasts until after Labor Day but this year its ending earlier due to the excess moisture we've had and the effects on the vines.

While he was showing me the harvesting process, I picked his brain about my watermelon I planted in my garden. They have not been ripening as they should. He had a few words about the specific variety I planted and I decided next year I won't even bother when we have local growers so close. Before I left the farm he made sure I had some melons to take home and I had to have help unloading it because it was so large.

It was an honor to document an experienced farmer in the field doing what he loves surrounded by his younger generations. If you know of any others looking to share a story and they don't mind paparazzi, 𝒍𝒆𝒕'𝒔 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒂 𝒇𝒂𝒓𝒎 𝒔𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏.