Seedless watermelon growing in Malta

Interview with Charles Zahra at the Qali Farmers Market, Island of Malta

Tell us about your background in agriculture


My family have been working in agriculture for generations. Since a young age I have been
frequently visiting the fields to help my family complete their farming chores.
On enrolment at university I came across a new undergraduate course in agriculture, I decided to
go for it, and have not stopped ever since.


What did you think when you saw seedless watermelons for the first time?


I believe my customers can answer this question better, In any case let me try to answer about
the first time I heard that Australian farmers were growing seedless watermelon.
I was reading through literature about the nutritional value of watermelon fruit, when I noticed that
this particular research was comparing nutritional content of a seedless and seeded watermelon.
The idea immediately struck me, so much so that a day later I when to ask around local
agricultural community about their thought, they all thought I had a crazy dream last night and I
was still at it.


What made you want to bring seedless melons to Malta?


As I already told you, it was both the added nutritional value and the comfort of eating a seedless
fruit that caught my attention. Ok I admit, the challenge from the agricultural community at the
time did give me a boost.


What are some of the challenges you have faced?


Temperature, rainfall patterns, well in short the local climate, but the toughest challenge came
from our customers to explain to them that this was a local naturally grown watermelon and not a
GMO.


What successes have you had?


Growing the fruit and establishing it as Maltese produce.


How do they taste?

Here have some. Pawlina seedless watermelon has been a huge success in terms of organoleptic
properties, on average Pawlina has 11% Brix.

How does the price compare with other water melons?

The price comes at a premium, considering the additional labour cost, lower production and
higher fruit quality.

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