It had not been a busy afternoon for Mohammed Iskandar; the effect of hartal clearly showed at Mohakhali Kancha Bazaar, along with the rest of the country. With his dextrous hands, he idly cut a small chunk from a tempting watermelon to show to a customer. The fruit, ripe red could make anyone thirsty.
“The harvest of watermelons has been very good this year,” Iskandar says. “The weather has been favourable, and there is a huge supply of good quality watermelons.”
Watermelons require a warm atmosphere for proper farming. A small amount of rainfall can also be helpful, but hailstorms or even too much rain is a total no-no. This season, the cultivation of the fruit has been excellent because of the weather conditions.
Therefore the fruit market is flooded with watermelons and the price is significantly low. “The price of this watermelon is just Tk.160, but in previous seasons I have sold this type of watermelons for about Tk.250,” Iskandar explains as the happy customer walks away with the fruit.
Watermelons always provide a relief in this hot weather. After a long day or during a break, eating a sweet, ice-cold watermelon from the refrigerator is a delight for many. It seems this season you can get this delight very cheap.
Ismail Shikder, who sells watermelons and various other fruits at Gulshan-1 Kancha bazaar, explains, “The supply is much more compared to the demand. This is one reason why the price is low this season.”
With the fact that watermelons rank high in perishability, the businesses are caught up in a turbulent race of selling them before it’s too late. “The quality of the watermelons will deteriorate if I cannot sell them within five days or a week or so. The remaining ones, which are then of low quality, must be sold at a minimal price, making a bad deal for us and for the customers too.”
The popularity of watermelons soars with the temperature. Usually consumed as it is, watermelons can also be used to concoct a wide range of recipes and dishes. Off the grill fish served with watermelon salsa, watermelon coolers, watermelon milkshake, watermelon curry and other family secrets all testify to the diverse nature of watermelons.
That’s one of the reasons that watermelons are considered so special, blending seamlessly in liquid nature or with sweet and sour dishes.
There are also a number of nutritional benefits that can be derived from the consumption of the fruit. Watermelons are believed to be high in lycopene which help with the cardiovascular health of an individual and also for bone health. Secondly, aside from the obvious help in hydrating the body, watermelons also aide with blood flow, given how much arginine it contains. Finally, there are also nutritional values that go with having watermelons, coupled with the presence of antioxidant support.
And there you have it; the full watermelon story. Make sure to take advantage of the bumper harvest this season, drowning yourself in a flavour barely describable yet one that everyone seems to have a taste for.
Photos: Sazzad Ibne Sayed