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Japan a Growing Market for California Melons



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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Japan has become an increasingly important market for California watermelons, most of them coming from San Joaquin County.

Grower Dan Van Gronigen sends about 30 tons a week by ship to Japan, and only the best is picked for that market.

VAN GRONIGEN: "The National Watermelon Promotion Board is trying to show the Japanese the health benefits of watermelons, it's high in lycopene and citrulline, it's got some really good things that are healthy for you."

Last year watermelon production was down in San Joaquin County because of poor weather in the growing season.

Van Gronigen says this year the harvest began 10 days early.

VAN GRONIGEN: "When we start earlier there is more production in our earlier fields, overall our fields are better than they were last year and so it's been big help having the weather on the grower end here."

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