Bradford watermelons harvested ahead of Hurricane Florence


Like any businessman and homeowner in Sumter County this week, Nat Bradford of Bradford Family Watermelon spent Friday finishing preparations for Hurricane Florence. The farmer located northeast of Dalzell mostly focused on his family’s famous watermelons and his newest project, hemp plants.

He said he was not as worried about the hemp – he is one of 20 farmers in South Carolina to have been awarded a license to participate in a pilot program for state research on the crop – because he would still be able to harvest the grain and seeds, which is goal for this research crop.

Winds would be more a concern than flooding, though that wouldn’t have been the case for Bradford if he hadn’t harvested his watermelons already. They’re grown in a lower-lying area of the field.

He had about 900 watermelons stored in what can be chalked up to be a giant refrigerator. He said he was planning to use them to brew beer anyway. Now he’ll just do it sooner than planned.