First UK-grown watermelon crop hits Tesco's shelves

A Herefordshire fruit growing trainee has managed to grow a crop of watermelons which will be sold in Tesco stores.

Joe De Pascalis - image:Tesco
Joe De Pascalis - image:Tesco

19-year-old production horticulture student Joe De Pascalis suggested to his boss at S&A Produce, where he is on a work placement, that he could grow a saleable crop of watermelons.

The crop was sown in May and harvested earlier this week, with heating used only at the germination stage.

Tesco produce manager James Cackett said: "These watermelons taste so good that we don't think shoppers will be able to tell the difference between them and the imported ones from Spain and Brazil.

"The sweetness level is very good and they are standard size, weighing about between one and three kilos each."

While emphasising that the current crop is just a trial, he added: "If the reaction is good then we will work with growers to get more for next year."

De Pascalis said: "I have to demonstrate that I can grow produce from start to finish, overseeing every part of the process.

"The watermelons have been like babies to me throughout the 90-day growing programme and I've personally tended to them three times a day to make sure they were getting just the right amount of feed.

The watermelons will go on sale locally in Tesco's Hereford and Royston, Hertfordshire branches, priced at £2 each.

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