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Summer is near, and the watermelons are already here

Varun Ramesh
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Vendors, multi-brand retailers expect sales to rise with the temperature

Plenty of choice:Fruit-lovers don’t seem to mind the splash watermelons have made in the market.
Plenty of choice:Fruit-lovers don’t seem to mind the splash watermelons have made in the market.

The arrival of watermelons signifies the impending summer. The fruit is a popular, healthy and tasty snack during the season. And this year, the time to indulge in cool watermelons has come at least a month early, according to vendors, what with the weather getting warmer every day.

“The season begins in March, but the fruit is already becoming popular,” said Mohammad Rafi, a fruit shop owner in Shantinagar. He sources his watermelons from Devanahalli when the fruit is in season, and from Punjab for the rest of the year, with the latter giving him his best supply. “I have already ordered and stacked 1,000 kg of watermelons,” he said.

He stocks two types of watermelons: the dark green ‘Kiran’, a hybrid variety distinguished by its red insides and darker colour, and the regular light green watermelon.

Prices

Watermelons can be had for anywhere between Rs. 10 and 25 a kg.

Jayamma, a fruit-cart vendor, expects prices to fall by next month due to an excess of supply. She gets 25 kg a day from K.R. Market and sells about 10 to 15 kg. As a result, she is unable to make a profit, having to turn to the market for supplies. She adds that she banks on selling apples, which can go for Rs. 150 a kg.

It is not just the roadside vendors who have begun cashing in on the fruit. Godrej Nature’s Basket, a multi-brand retailer, gets its supply of watermelons from Kolar, store manager Amritesh said. They buy around 90 kg at a time, with sales increasing during weekends. They expect to double their sales by March.

With retailers such as these perceived as having a more premium product, they focus on keeping their products medium-sized and similar in appearance, with their typical customer having a small family.

Meanwhile, fruit-lovers don’t seem to mind the splash watermelons have made in the market. Bhaskar, a resident of Shantinagar, said he looks for colour and taste when he buys watermelons. He usually travels to Koramangala to buy them, and doesn’t mind paying more to get better quality. “I generally buy one at a time, so that none of them go waste if we keep them for too long,” he added.

Nutritionists too give the green signal to the consumption of watermelons. Megha B., a city-based nutritionist, said that watermelons are the best substitute for glucose in the summer due to its high content of iron and fibre, which saves the body from dehydrating.

“Watermelon helps beat the heat. Potassium-rich foods like watermelon help athletes to cope with muscle strain and muscle cramps,” she explained.

Eating a slice of watermelon immediately after rigorous exercise can even prevent sore muscles. Watermelon also acts as a metabolism booster.

It contains an amino acid (Arginine) that promotes fat loss and increases muscle mass,” she added.

On the other hand, diabetics are advised to keep away from the fruit, due to its high sugar (fructose) content.

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