HERMISTON, Ore. - The watermelon harvest just started about a week ago in northeast Oregon.
Workers have picked thousands of the summer fruit already from the hundreds of acres that Walchli Farms grows them on.
Once the melons are picked they are moved to a warehouse where a sorting machine does some work. First the watermelons are brushed which makes them clean and shiny. Then they are sent along a conveyer belt, of sorts, that eventually weighs them and dumps them out in different chutes, depending on their weight.
Walchli Farms is a major distributor in the region and sells to places like Costco.
"All the stores, they don't want to weigh a watermelon. They want so many melons in a box, so that's how they distribute their pricing," said Patrick Walchli.
For the past few years, Walchli said the harvest has come a few weeks early. He credits that to tempermental springs and the hot summer weather. He said Hermiston melons are the elite because of their high sugar content. He said the combination of the soil and weather make the area prime watermelon growing land.