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William Manis Produce Marketing, a year-round marketer of watermelons, expects to begin marketing its domestic fruit in May, slightly later than typical timetables. “We are still shipping offshore melons as the Florida melons will be delayed this year,” President Officer Rick Sullivan told The Produce News on April 11.

Imported melons are sourced from Guatemala, Honduras and Panama. “Our farms for the domestic melons we grow are in south Florida, north Florida and Missouri,” Mr. Sullivan stated.

“Our domestic melon program runs generally from mid-April through Labor Day in September. But with the freeze we experienced in early March, our startup with domestic melons will be starting in May.”

Manis was founded in 1953 and is headquartered in Plant City, FL. “The company is a leading marketer of watermelons, Athena cantaloupes, citrus, strawberries, import specialties, Southern vegetables and fruits of the Pacific Northwest,” the company’s website states. “We are well connected in order to supply import melons, asparagus and other offshore items enabling us to put mixers together to satisfy our customers’ needs.”

According to Mr. Sullivan, the quality of melon imports has been very good this season with good sizing and color. He said it is too early to comment about quality and sizing for this year’s Florida crop.

The company ships heavily to the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard as well as the South. “Our watermelons are labeled with the ‘Manis Marketing Co.’ label,” he said. “We ship our melons to retail outlets such as chainstores, wholesalers and some foodservice outlets and outdoor farm markets. We have several truck lines that do a great job of hauling our watermelons to our customers.”