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Watermelons were once Lodi’s top crop

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Posted: Saturday, July 21, 2012 12:00 am

Occasionally you can still see them. Lying in the hot summer’s dirt, watermelons appear scattered in fields and vacant lots around Lodi. The round, little watermelons are like overlooked weeds and do not look appetizing. But they are historic relics of Lodi’s rich agricultural past.

When settlers first tilled the land in northern San Joaquin County beginning in the 1850s, wheat was the main crop. Wheat was planted over huge acreages and farmed without irrigation. Lodi’s early farmers all grew grain as well as smaller plots of other crops including fruit, vegetables and grapes.

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