(May 7, 12:33 p.m.) The National Watermelon Association is hoping the U.S. House of Representatives can help it move some watermelons this July.

On April 29, the House passed a resolution making July National Watermelon Month.

The House resolution is an upgrade from one the Senate passed in 2007, which made July National Watermelon Month only for that year.

The House resolution does not specify a particular year, ensuring that the next several Julys at least will be National Watermelon Months, said Bob Morrissey, executive director of the Plant City, Fla.-based association.

Morrissey is optimistic the resolution will help increase demand during the industry’s biggest-volume month, and so increase margins for growers during a period when prices traditionally are at their lowest.

“We think it’s an absolutely awesome opportunity,” he said. “It will open up a plethora of opportunities for us, marketingwise.”

Among marketing opportunities slated for July:

  • promotions at three Sacramento, Calif., Wal-Marts with 2008 Watermelon Queen Brittanie Faircloth;

  • a three-day event at Kroger stores in Indianapolis with 2009 watermelon queen candidates, culminating in the Kroger 200 NASCAR race; and

  • a promotion at the Maryland State Fair.

C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn., and other companies also are planning promotions for National Watermelon Month this July, Morrissey said.

The House resolution cites watermelon as a source of vitamins A, B6 and C and also fiber, potassium and the antioxidant lycopene.