Thad Angelloz / Houma Courier
Randy Richard and his two children harvested a big surprise on Father’s Day.
According to Richard, Parker, 6, and Olivia, 3, helped him plant a number of watermelon seeds in the spring.
Little did they know one of those seeds would produce a monstrous 42-pound watermelon.
Although Richard plucked 15 watermelons out of the ground on June 17, only one stood out.
“It is the largest one I have ever seen,” the 35-year-old said. “I was treating several of them for blossom rot. I was putting calcium carbonate on them and guess that might explain it, but I really don’t know.”
Barton Joffrion, a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter in Houma, said watermelons typically grow to between 20 and 30 pounds.
“That’s not unheard of,” Joffrion said in a previous interview with The Courier and Daily Comet. “But that is big.”
Richard said growing fruits and vegetables on his and his next door neighbor’s land in the St. Charles community between Thibodaux and Raceland is something he loves doing with his children.
“It is something constructive we can do together,” said Richard, who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in addition to serving as a independent crop consultant. “I enjoy teaching them about how they can live off the land.”
According to Guinness World Records, the world’s heaviest watermelon weighed 268.8 pounds and was grown in 2005 by Lloyd Bright of Arkadelphia, Ark.
Although the watermelon wasn’t a record-setter by any means, it did make an impression on everyone who saw the massive fruit.
Richard said the watermelon weighs more than both his children.
“You can tell in the picture just how big it truly is,” he said.
Asked how it tasted, Richard said it could have sat on the vine a few more days before being harvested.
“It wasn’t quite ripe yet, but we definitely had plenty of it. I still have half of it sitting in my freezer,” Richard said.