In the next few days, the first Posey County melons will be ready for harvest. But they won’t actually be in Posey County.
Frey Farms produces hundreds of thousands of melons annually at its Gibson County location. Director of sales Renee Mattingly says the melons received their name because of where they were shipped a century ago.
“They were shipped from a railroad station in Posey County,” says Mattingly. “That was in Mount Vernon. The melons were taken from the local farms to the railroad, crated up, taken off the wagons, and put into rail cars. The stamp on the outside of the crate said ‘Posey County.’”
Parts of Gibson County are good for growing melons because of the sandy soil and abundance of water. The area has produced melons for more than a century.
Frey Farms uses a greenhouse to grow its plants until the seedlings are large enough to transplant in the fields each spring. All of the planting and harvesting is done by hand, since machines could damage the fruit.
“There is a wide variety of types of melons, but primarily we grow red meat watermelons and yellow meat watermelons, both seeded and seedless varieties,” says Mattingly. “We also produce personal-sized watermelons.”
Frey Farms, which also has locations in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Illinois, ships its products nationally. The company is family owned, and observes a strict, detailed food safety program. Each fall, Frey Farms also is the largest producer of pumpkins in the country.
The Posey County melons can be found in many local stores. And, this year, they’re part of a new product line for Frey Farms: watermelon juice. Frey Farms’ new watermelon juice, TSAMMA, is now available and sold at The Fresh Market and Whole Foods.
“TSAMMA is brand new, and there’s really nothing like it on the market,” says Mattingly. “We’ve identified a gap in the premium juice market, and we are using our own fresh watermelons to fill that gap.”
For more information about Frey Farms, visit freyproduce.com.