Over 20 years ago, the Thai watermelon market was dominated by one type of dark green watermelon only, with light red flesh that wasn’t very tasty. East-West Seed changed the game by introducing a green striped variety that consumers know and love today. An even more recent innovation is the sweet and crispy yellow-fleshed Golden Sweet-80 which is sold in Thailand and Vietnam markets. “It is the best variety for eating,” according to our plant breeders. Its high eating quality make it a very successful product.
“Like drawing a picture: I can mix red, greens, and yellows to breed a whole new variety of watermelon.”
Nate began working for East-West Seed 18 years ago as a watermelon breeder. While a student at the School of Agriculture at Kasetsart University, Nate would “go to the market and see a lot of watermelon on sale, but they weren’t selling.” He realized he wanted to be part of a breeding program that created “something popular with the world.” Joining East-West Seed has meant he can do just that: “I breed watermelons of many colors and varieties, but all with good-quality taste.”
Nate enjoys working with watermelons because they can “be many different shapes, size and colors.” A true artist, he compares plant breeding to “drawing a picture. I can mix red, greens and yellows, and breed a whole new hybrid variety of melon.”
Nate’s vision for watermelons is further breeding for a compact watermelon “just right for a small family. So you only need one small fruit for just two or three persons.” And for the mass market, the focus will be on “resistance to diseases. We’ll develop better protection, making the farmers happy because they will need less chemicals, which will lower costs and improve quality.”
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