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Today is September 16, 2021

Editorial

Memories of a sweet summertime

By Michael Callahan

Michael Callahan
Michael Callahan,
Executive Vice President/CEO
EPAs of Mississippi

For many of us, summertime can stir up memories and scenes from our childhoods.

Before cellular phones and video games, summertime in Mississippi meant spending hours outside, free of classes and homework, and running around under the sun like the days would go on forever.

We wouldn’t even go back home unless the sun went down or our mommas called us in for dinner.

Summer, as well as the month of July specifically, is also a time when watermelons play a prominent role in our family menus.

Is it a summertime cookout without a sweet slice of watermelon?

For those of us who have grown up or spent most of our lives in Mississippi, watermelon in July means melons from a specific place — Smith County.

“Everyone says they have to have a Smith County watermelon,” Taylorsville farmer Kevin Ford told us in this month’s cover story.

Why does it have to be a Smith County watermelon?

Many in the Magnolia state testify that the taste of the super sweet, dark green melons from Smith County are the best they’ve ever had.

We’re not sure if there’s something magical in the soil or in the hands of Smith County watermelon growers. Whatever it is, the taste is something Mississippians swear by.

If there’s something Mississippians would say they know a little bit about, it’s food.

So go and find a Smith County watermelon — or any locally grown watermelon — soon to make your summer special and to support local farmers.

According to the Mississippi State University Extension Service, there are about 38 watermelon farmers in the state. The economic impact of Mississippi watermelons is about $4.3 million.

I want to wish all our co-op members, employees and their families a Happy Independence Day.

And who knows — maybe, if we try hard enough, we can encourage our children to put down their phones, get them to spend a day outdoors and reward them when the sun goes down with a sweet slice of Mississippi watermelon.

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