- Food and Cooking
The Lulawissie Black Ball Watermelons
More than thirty or so years ago, Lulawissie County welcomed its first and only Asian-American family into our family of friends and neighbors here in the Deep South. Takeo Ishiro and his wife Toyo settled here from Hokkaido, Japan in late 1980 to start a family and begin a profitable produce farming business.
It didn’t take long for Takeo’s business to take off. He was and still is a genius at produce farming. His most looked forward to crop every year are his Black-Skinned Watermelons. Never before has anyone in Lulawissie ever seen such a watermelon. There is no way to describe the flavor to someone who has never had one. Takeo claims that his grandfather gave him the melon seeds to bring with him from Japan when he and Toyo left in 1979 to come to America and seek out the American dream. It all paid off for him, as his locally famous melons have been nicknamed the “Lulawissie Black Ball Melons”. People have driven from as far away as the Northeastern U.S to buy one of Takeo’s melons.
The Lulawissie Black Ball Melon is round, with a solid black skin that is devoid of stripes or spots. They can weigh as much as 25 pounds, and has been frequently compared to the famous Densuke Melons of Japan. Takeo usually yields a harvest of 1,000 to 1,500 melons every year, and they are usually sold long before he has picked them. Unfortunately, there are those out there that have attempted to steal Takeo’s melons from his field and he has several dogs and security guards tending the fields at all hours.
The Ishiro Produce Farm is located about 4 miles upriver from O’Brien’s Ferry, where Neenach Road tees off at the boat ramp. There is a small produce stand at the gate, and usually Toyo is there to greet the buyers. It is well worth the trip.
As always, I appreciate the time you have taken to stop by and read what I have to say. Always remember that there are no strangers in Lulawissie, there are only friends that we haven’t met yet.
Have a blessed weekend, my friends. As for me and Sammie, our son is getting married in 3 days, so we will be quite busy.
©2011 by Del Banks