Thanks to specialty crop block grant funding, the Texas Watermelon Association is taking to the airwaves to promote homegrown fruit.

The Weatherford-based group received about $97,000 to do television outreach through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program that was awarded through the Texas Department of Agriculture, said Richard De Los Santos, marketing coordinator for the ag department’s Go Texan program.

San Antonio-based chef Michael Flores is working with the association to produce 30-second television spots with recipes demonstrating Texas-grown watermelons, De Los Santos said.

“We are working with retailers in Texas to conduct watermelon and other produce demos during the weeks the commercials air,” he said. “The watermelon producers have been working to get the Go Texan mark on all their Texas fruit. We are also working at getting the stickers made.”

Ward Thomas, salesman at Majestic Produce, McAllen, Texas, and chairman of the association’s executive board, said this grant enabled the association to do projects not previously feasible.

“We’ll be advertising for the first time in history,” he said. “It’s exciting for us to have a chef.”

De Los Santos said the tentative commercial schedule includes four weeks of promotions through the summer starting on May 24, just before Memorial Day weekend.

Commercials also are expected the week of June 28, before July 4; July 26 as a summer reminder; and the week of Aug. 30, before the Labor Day holiday.

Each week also features live television appearances in these select cities: 

  • Dallas, on “Good Morning, Texas;”

  • Houston, on “Great Day, Houston;”

  • San Antonio, on “San Antonio Living;”

  • Austin, on “Good Day, Austin;”

  • Rio Grande Valley Univision.