'Personal Melons': Watermelon Farmers Focus On Small And Seedless

At roadside stands here, you're more likely to come across a hybrid called the Super Sweet 710 that farmers like Ernest Brown grow. It has seeds, sure, but it lacks some of the personality of the older varieties. It's just a bit flatter in flavor than the Jubilee Mr. Brown prefers. But the 710s are cheaper to grow, a little smaller and more uniform.

"You can handle them better and stack them better," he said.

The game, however, is in small, seedless melons.

Only about 2 of every 10 watermelons sold in the United States have seeds. And only a tiny percentage, agriculture experts estimate, are the old-fashioned heirloom varieties, all with seeds, that once made up all the watermelons in America.

Read more on Kim Severson in the New York Times