The minute summer comes to Harlem, watermelon vendors begin popping up all along the big avenues.
But there's one seller that stands out from the rest, with an extra-long bin holding row upon row of sweet watermelons trucked straight from the South.
Run by a group known as the Black Seed Brothers, the stand sits on the northeast corner of Lenox Avenue and 139th Street—with a second, smaller location in front of the Schomburg Center on 135th Street (the adjacent Health Station food truck is part of the same business).
The brothers—some related by blood, some friends—bring up to 1,000 freshly-picked melons per week from the farms of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Unlike the seedless hybrid variety now common in every supermarket, theirs is old-fashioned, with black seeds dotting the flesh. (Some say the seeded kind has more flavor and a better texture.)
"Real black seeds from the dirt," says Johan, one of the brothers, explaining that folks come from all over the city to buy their watermelon, both red and yellow ($12-$20).
Adds Tyrell, a second member of the group, "When you see the black seeds, you know they're the original."
Another way you'll soon be able to tell: Black Seed Brothers-branded fruit stickers, extolling the health benefits of watermelon (like helping with digestion and hydration).
The Black Seed Brothers' stand on 139th Street is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information, contact email@example.com.