Home' Grower : March 2013 Contents The South Australian Grower -- March 2013
IWAS recently up in Queensland
har vesting the mighty mud crab
with my brother Charles when I
read an interesting article in the
newspaper about the Chinchilla
Water Melon Festival.
Now, as a retired horticultural spe-
cialist, this article caught my atten-
tion as I failed to see how one could
run an entire festival with the hum-
ble watermelon, Citrullus lanatus!
I have a daughter who lives in
Chinchilla, so I rang her to get the
Sharon was surprised that I was a
non-believer and was quick to
inform me that the melon festival
was one of the State's major events
and drew about 7000 visitors --
double the town's population.
Chinchilla grows about 25 per
cent of Australia's watermelons and
it appears this humble fr uit has
become a demi-god and the source
of some sport and amusement.
The festival includes the ever-pop-
ular melon skiing where the partici-
pant has a melon on each foot and is
pulled by rope down a slippery
slope of broken melons, by rope.
Others in the list include the
melon dash for cash, melon
bungee, melon bullseye,
melon ballgames, a melon
chariot race, melon ironman
and of course the ever popu-
lar pip spitting competition.
It sort of makes throwing
tuna look stupid, doesn't it?
This year, the Guinness World
Record for melon head smashing
was broken. It involves smashing or
cracking a watermelon open with
the head only, no hands. Local
watermelon picker John Allwod
smashed 47 melons in one minute.
The world record for pip spitting
is currently 21 metres and is held in
Texas, United States.
Kyron Sturgess won the big melon
weigh in when he presented a
melon that weighed 86 kilograms.
The event also presented a serious
side, hosting a rodeo, street stalls,
art and craft competition and a free
family concert. They eat and
destroy about 20 tonnes of water-
melon on the weekend.
at this stage beginning to think
that this is another one of
Sparrow's fair y stories, but
every word is true.
The event is held every two
years and you too can become a
visitor if you can claim camping
rights in the local showground.
Mind you, getting to
Chinchilla is another thing! It is
in southern-central Queensland
and at this stage, no airline has
Popular transport to the area
is by camel train or hire car.
I know this because I have
been promising my daughter I
would come and visit her but I
have had trouble finding the
place on the map!
Out of interest I looked fur-
ther into the history of the
watermelon and found out
many interesting tidbits.
Watermelon it is believed to
be indigenous to southern
Africa, the word watermelon
made its first appearance in the
English dictionary in 1615,
there are more than 1200
known varieties, seedless water-
melons are actually not seedless
and hence the pip-spitting
There is more: Japan pro-
duces cube-shaped melons by
growing them in a glass box or
mould. Pyramid shapes have
No dearth of excitement at the Chinchilla water melon festival (inset).
also been developed; watermel-
on is about 6pc sugar and 92pc
water by weight.
Given that it is fat free, low in
cholesterol and full of fibre, it is
considered to be the perfect
health food. It also is a great
source of vitamin C.
The rind is edible and used as
a vegetable in some countries.
Watermelon is a mild diuretic
and in some circles is consid-
ered an aphrodisiac.
I do know that our American
friends make watermelon wine
but I doubt that it will ever
replace Bundaberg Rum.
The Nest also wishes you a
happy, healthy and successful
If you want to enter me in the
head-smashing competition or
would just like to make contact,
you can do so on email wspar-
firstname.lastname@example.org or ring
me on 0419 591 894.
about 25pc of
watermelons and it
appears this humble
fruit has become a
demi-god of sorts
with WALLY SPARROW
Libby vouches for 'grape' shape-up
SWIMMERS appear to be the flavour
of the month for promoting fresh
fruit and nuts.
While Eamon Sullivan has taken
up the flag for macadamia nuts,
swimming golden girl Libby Trickett
has been appointed by the
Australian Table Grapes industry for
the second year in a row to
spearhead its summer marketing
Trickett will encourage consumers
once again to 'Munch-A Bunch-A
Grapes' while there are plenty
available as farmers across the
country gear-up for a bumper
After slimming down and making
a career comeback at the 2012
London Games, Ms Trickett is
supporting local growers and
inspiring people who want to lose
those extra kilos by sharing her
Seven Day Grape Shape Healthy
Developed by Libby's sports
dietician, Jessica Abbott, the two
variations of the eating plan
encourage Australians of all fitness
levels to incorporate table grapes
into their everyday meals and graze
on nature's super food instead of
junk for top sports performance or
The peak season campaign
started in February and will go on
till March and comprises intensive
public relations backed by
nationwide in-store marketing.
Australian Table Grapes
Association chief executive officer
Jeff Scott said the industry was
thrilled to have Ms Trickett on board
again this year.
"It's fantastic to have the support
of a great Aussie athlete like Libby
and it's exciting to see her backing
our growers who work hard to
produce the highest quality table
grapes in the world," he said.
Excellent weather conditions have
paved the way for a promising
delivery of late-season Australian
table grapes from the Sunraysia
region of Victoria (Mildura and
Robinvale) and Western Australia,
which collectively constitutes 70 per
cent of the country's production.
Mr Scott said varieties were now
available in green grocers,
convenience stores and
"Growers around the country have
experienced excellent crops this
year," he said.
"The outlook for February and
March through to May is extremely
promising with expectations that
we'll be up in volume by 10-15pc
on last year's harvest."
Swimming golden girl Libby Trickett is encouraging consumers to
munch a bunch of grapes to get healthy.
Chinchilla melon bash 'real deal'
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