Hope officials concerned about early watermelon harvest

A mild winter has led to an early crop of Hope watermelons.

But with the early bounty, leaders in Hope are crossing their fingers there will be enough fruit for the city’s annual Watermelon Festival in August.

Hempstead County Agricultural Extension Agent Steven Sheets says he’s cautiously optimistic about this year’s watermelon season, even though hotter temperatures could cause an earlier-than-normal crop.

Watermelon stands have already popped up in the area.

Sheets says cooler weather and rainfall could help extend the melon season to later this summer.

The Watermelon Festival is scheduled for Aug. 9-11 in Hope. The annual event typically features tons of fresh watermelon — literally.

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