Looking back is an interesting exercise. It gives us a measure of the evolution of the fruit and vegetable sector in Spain and the changes that have been taking place in terms of crop types , varieties, working techniques and consumer tastes.

Having more than 70 years of experience as suppliers of fruits and vegetables allows us to carry out this exercise in a very unique way, because we feel part of this evolution and not just mere spectators, but active members of the evolution.

This is how watermelon cultivation has changed in Spain.


In the 50’s, when Peris started producing and selling watermelons, for us this fruit had only one name: Sugar Baby. It was a black-skinned watermelon of a traditional variety that we grew in the Huerta de Valencia, specifically in the fields of Foios and the surrounding area, very close to our warehouse. What memories!

The success of these watermelons in the market increased the demand and, at the beginning of the 60’s, we had to look for new growing areas, which led us to expand fields in coastal areas of Valencia and Castellón. Those were years of remarkable growth, consumers were eager for quality watermelons like the ones they found under our brand and both in food markets and greengrocers encouraged us to continue expanding production because the existing demand was covered.

So in the mid-1960s we took production to other communities, such as Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha and Extremadura, which allowed us to maintain quality, because the soil and climate conditions were ideal. At the same time, these areas gave us access to large cultivation plots, since the fields we had so far in the Valencian Community were smallholdings, i.e. not very large and scattered plots.

In the 1970s, new changes came with the introduction of new varieties, with the incorporation of hybrid watermelons, such as Resistent, Panoria and Dulce Maravilla. Plants that were very early in fruit production and larger in size. This led many growers to prefer them, and although we also incorporated them in Peris, we continued to maintain part of the production with our beloved Sugar Baby, since being a traditional variety (not a hybrid), it had more flavor and sweetness.

Watermelons from pumpkin feet: the evolution of cultivation techniques

In addition to the varieties, there was also a remarkable evolution in the cultivation techniques. Plastic tunnels began to be used , which helped to set the flowers and protect the seedlings in their initial stage, and localized irrigation was also introduced. This efficient irrigation system was essential for the extension of the crop to the aforementioned areas, since they are rainfed areas.

In the 1980s, a significant change in tillage techniques was incorporated, the grafting of pumpkin rootstocks. That is, a watermelon plant was grafted onto a peanut squash plant, preserving the aerial part of the watermelon on the root of the squash. This technique has been improved year after year with better practices (scion, attachment, welding…) and grafts prepared in professional nurseries. This gave us more resistant plants with high quality fruits.

In the 1990s, the great revolution arrived: seedless watermelon.


The seedless or seedless watermelon was undoubtedly the substantial change that led to an even greater take-off in the consumption of this fruit. The first seedless watermelons were striped watermelons in the mid-1990s. Shortly thereafter, this particularity was also extended to black watermelons.

As with any major change, there is always a period of adaptation. Many consumers still preferred the ‘old-fashioned’ watermelon, with its black seeds, which they considered a more natural and traditional product, as there was a certain mistrust of the new seedless ones.
there was a certain mistrust of the new seedless ones.

At Vicente Peris we started working with seedless watermelon at the end of the 90’s, and we spent more than a decade working with both types of watermelon, seeded and seedless, since the market was divided.

Since 2017, all our watermelons are now seedless, the market accepted them 100% and they are currently the most demanded.

The future: size and formats

The evolution continues and we have already detected new trends, such as the preference of consumers for smaller watermelons, adapted to families of between one and three members.

Likewise, being a fruit that can be cumbersome to handle, new formats have also arrived , such as shrink-wrapped watermelon halves, or ready-to-eat peeled and cut watermelon, which Vicente Peris also works with in its fresh-cut division.

Whether whole, large, small, halved or peeled, we encourage you to enjoy this magnificent fruit that Peris has been pampering for more than half a century.