Tastes like strawberries
On a summer evenin’
And it sounds just like a song
I want more berries
And that summer feelin’
It’s so wonderful and warm Watermelon Sugar high!
So I delivered a load to Riviera Beach, FL. Yeah, I’m in sunny (but right now rainy) Florida, but there are limited loads out of sunshine state. So I booked a watermelon load 100 miles away from LaBelle which will take me to Jessup, MD, not far from home in DC.
“Watermelon, but I don’t have a reefer,” I thought.
“No worries, once harvested, the watermelons last a few weeks before they go bad,” said the broker.”
So I headed west to the middle of nowhere..
When I got to LaBelle, had to drive several miles along an uneven dirt road, far from civilization. The muddy path ran along a canal with gators crisscrossing it like this was the Everglades or something. You wouldn’t pay me a million dollars for me to cross that canal. The farm was huge, and it was clear that oranges and sugar cane was harvested here also.
Agriculture in Florida is second only to tourism, and there is a lot of agriculture here. The farm workers load watermelons to converted school busses that drive to the packing house. From the busses, the melons are loaded onto a conveyor belt.
The watermelons are then packed by size and then loaded to reefers and vans with a weight of up to 42K lbs.
I was delayed by a few hours due to the rain and didn’t get loaded until past 10pm. I was surprised how quickly they loaded me, though.
“We load by size,” said the dock worker. “You got medium size, so you load fast.”
Great, I was glad to get out of this mosquito-laden farm. Found a Walmart a couple hours north where I could bed for the night.
The drive north through central Florida was actually quite scenic. Plenty of lakes and I enjoyed driving through Orlando and seeing all the theme parks back in action again.
And then a stop in Darien, an hour from the GA/FL border. It was great to stop and see Mom again, even for a few hours. She prepared a delicious meal of oxtail curry. I was able to snag a watermelon from one of the dock workers, and she was delighted to sample fresh FL produce.
When I asked the dock worker for a good melon, he knocked on the giant harvest with his knuckles and it returned a ringing sound. “This one will be ripe in about a week,” he suggested.
“Are these seeded?” I asked.
“Nope, the ones with seeds are turned into juice.”
After taking a three-hour break in Darien, I hauled ass north. Despite been loaded late, I needed to deliver the high value produce by the next day. Supermarkets all across the Mid Atlantic were waiting for these wonderful, warm goodies.
I found a Walmart in Lumberton, NC and shut down for 8 hours instead of 10. This delayed my 14 hour clock and I made it to Lancaster Farms, Jessup with 30 minutes to spare.
Was an easy dock with plenty of space. Paid the lumper and before long I was ready to roll home on a brisk, windy day.