Pastor Clinton Brown, a recent Brooklyn transplant by way of Mississippi, has begun a booming watermelon business out the back of his truck in Crown Heights amidst the COVID-19 crisis, Patch reports. What started as a small side hustle has blossomed after Brown sold thousands of the fruits since July 1st.
The idea came to him the first time he purchased the fruit after moving to Brooklyn five months ago. He was appalled at both the taste and the price -- nothing like what he had grown up eating down south.
Brown grew up in Mississippi, learning to grow black seeded watermelon on his family's farm at the age of four. He then spent 30 years in Georgia, the so called "watermelon capital of the world". After his experience with the bland New York variety of the fruit, Brown hatched up the idea to sell them himself.
None of this would be possible without the trucking company that Brown already owned. This allows him to ship in the fruit from out of state farms, and he is able to keep them fresh for up to a week in the refrigerated truck. "If they're in Canada, I can go get them. If they're in New York, I can go get them. If they're in California, I can go get them," he says. "That's what makes our company different." His girlfriend, Vel, has helped find buyers at several local stores, and the pair is working on branding for the future.
At only $10-$15, Brown's black seeded Sangria watermelons are a great value, and in addition, the pastor hopes to sell his fruit at NYCHA buildings at a discount in the near future. To him, this generous approach is a way of honoring a fruit that is "part of African-American heritage."
Brown says that "Anyone over the age of 40 spent summers at grandmas or grandpas house, sitting on the front porch eating watermelon and spitting out the seeds — telling stories and reminiscing." He hopes to share this tradition with his new community here in Brooklyn.
Brown's truck is at corner of Bedford Avenue and Empire Boulevard seven days a week, from 1:00pm to 5:00pm on weekdays and from 12:30pm to 6:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays. He also delivers for a $10 flat fee in Brooklyn: (470) 588-6507