Learn about the Bradford Watermelon on Tuesday at Sumter County Museum



Nothing says summer better than watermelon.

As part of the Sumter County Museum's Summer of Signings, A Talk with Dr. David Shields and Nat Bradford, The Interesting and Dangerous History of the Bradford Watermelon, will be presented at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 25, in McKenzie Hall of the museum, 122 N. Washington St.

USC Professor Shields was on the hunt for a surviving Bradford Watermelon in 2005. Nat Bradford, landscape architect from Sumter, reached out to him in 2012 wondering if his family's "backyard melon" was the prized Bradford. Upon confirmation, Shields encouraged Bradford to restore the watermelon to its former glory.

As described in an NPR article, "The most luscious watermelon the Deep South has ever produced was once so coveted, 19th-century growers used poison or electrocuting wires to thwart potential thieves, or simply stood guard with guns in the thick of night. The legendary Bradford was delectable - but the melon didn't ship well, and it all but disappeared by the 1920s. Now, eight generations later, a great-great-great-grandson of its creator is bringing it back."

Come learn the fascinating story of the Bradford Watermelon at this free event. Light refreshments will be served, and pickled watermelon samples will be available from Bradford Family Watermelon Company (watermelons aren't quite ripe yet).

For additional information on the Summer of Signings, visit www.sumtercountymuseum.org, call (803) 775-0908 or email information@sumtercountymuseum.org.