This Weeks Ag in the Classroom Features Ag Around the World Wednesday with Watermelons!Wed, 03 Jun 2020 10:03:30 CDT
Summertime is almost here as the kiddos are out of school now and many parents are at home with their kiddos, wondering, "What do we do now?" Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom has come up with some excellent daily activities you can do with your kids and family.
Today we are featuring Around The World Wednesday! Who loves watermelon?? Oklahoma farmers grow watermelons for us to enjoy and we even have the Rush Springs Watermelon Festival every year (sadly not this year due to Covid 19) to celebrate this yummy fruit....or is it a vegetable? Botanically, it appears to be a fruit and is eaten like a fruit, but the watermelon is a member of the cucumber family known as the Cucurbitaceae and are grown like a vegetable crop. In fact, Oklahoma declared it their State Vegetable in 2007. Either way, it is delicious!! Which country grows the most watermelons? China - They grow over 79 million tons of watermelons per year!
Melons are warm season crops that thrive in Oklahoma's long growing season. All kinds of melons grow in Oklahoma, but our watermelon crop is the most profitable. In 2015 Oklahoma produced 540,000 hundredweight of watermelon, adding about $7 million to our state's economy.
Most of the watermelon produced in Oklahoma goes out of state. According to a study by the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Oklahoma exports 392.8 percent more watermelon than is consumed in the state.
In ancient times, watermelons were prized as a source of transportable water. Ancient Egyptian tombs are decorated with pictures of watermelon drawn more than 5,000 years ago. Traders sold seeds along ancient Mediterranean trade routes, and cultivation spread throughout Africa. By the 10th century, watermelon found its way to China, which is now the world's number one producer of watermelons.
Watermelon probably arrived in the US with colonists and African slaves. Some historians theorize watermelon may have American origins as well, since early French explorers found native farmers growing watermelon in the Mississippi Valley.
For more Wonderful Watermelon Activities, click on the activity lessons here:
And don't forget, Ag in the Classroom offers daily activities to do with your kiddos on their website, and their facebook page.
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