12 SOURCE | Summer 2022
The Cracker Jack of Watermelons
How an exclusive variety of watermelon seed is helping fuel SEEDWAY ’ s growth in Mexico
Chris Grogan , GROWMARK Publications and Media Relations Manager cgrogan @ growmark . com
Watermelons can be synonymous with summer . From fresh slices at picnics to being diced into cubes and mixed into fruit salads , it is one of the most commonly consumed fruits during these warm days . Yet for SEEDWAY , watermelon has become synonymous with its sales success in Mexico .
“ Seedless watermelon can be really important for southern U . S . growers but it ’ s huge in Mexico ,” says Jason Burchett , who heads up SEEDWAY ’ s vegetable seed division . “ Mexico is very competitive but the opportunity to expand is easier since there is a lot of untapped market there .”
And that market is ripe for the Cracker Jack variety of seedless watermelon which is skyrocketing in sales . SEEDWAY is the exclusive dealer for this variety in the U . S . and Mexico .
“ Often the dealers like SEEDWAY do not get to participate in naming specific varieties such as Cracker Jack . Since this is an exclusive variety , SEEDWAY did get to participate and we came up with Cracker Jack ,” adds Burchett . “ We wanted a name that everyone could relate to , and who doesn ’ t know what Cracker Jacks are when thinking about summer activities ? I think it is the perfect choice !”
Burchett says it also has the perfect qualities that consumers are looking for in watermelon with a dark interior color and high degree of sugar . It ’ s been taking the North American market by storm , which is significant since SEEDWAY only started marketing it three years ago .
“ SEEDWAY had a head start in Florida a few years ago , which is not a long time but it ’ s going to be the number one variety in the U . S . in another year or so ,” says Burchett . “ And that ’ s significant with all of the good varieties that have been on the market for 25 plus years .”
Already Cracker Jack is the number one variety in Mexico , with many of those watermelons being sent to the U . S . and Canada .
“ The western parts of the U . S . are very important for SEEDWAY ’ s growth , but Mexico is important just due to its vastness ,” adds Burchett . “ We ’ re being asked to do more and believe it might be a $ 5-6-million market with vegetables . That ’ s why we brought on Mario last year to grow the team . We believe there ’ s more potential than in the Southeast or Midwest right now .”
Mario Perches was named Vegetable Seed General Manager for the Texas and Mexico regions in April 2021 .
“ I ’ d been working quite a bit in Mexico since graduating from Texas A & M University with a master ’ s degree . I was approached by SEEDWAY and have known about the company for a while due to the way the business is run ,” adds Perches . “ And that intrigued me because it ’ s so well run .”
Now he ’ s charged with growing not only the large watermelon business , but also broccoli , cauliflower , and lettuce , among other seed sales . Perches , who splits his time between McAllen , Texas and Guanajuato in Central Mexico , says Mexican growers are progressive when it comes to technology and sustainability .
“ Producers now are using almost 100 percent drip irrigation and satellite imagery ,” adds