Monthly Archives: December 2015

A Few Good Men – the next four inductees to the National Watermelon Hall of Fame

HOF banner with slice

The National Watermelon Association has a long history of remarkable leaders from the watermelon industry that have contributed their time, energy, and expertise to the Association and its members. 
 
The Association’s Hall of Fame has been created to honor the lives and contributions of these members, both past and present.
 
We will inaugurate the Hall of Fame and recognize the first class of inductees during the National Convention in New Orleans, February 25th-27th, 2016.
 
The following is the Class of 2016!
John Cooper
Centre, Alabama
John Cooper operated John Cooper Produce, Inc. which was founded in 1971 as a small cargo and freight service company. It was also known as Hi C Transportation and Hi C Produce & Truck Brokers.
John was a member of the Executive Committee and was an active member in the 1950s- 1970s. John Cooper was involved in the National Watermelon Association for over 30 years!

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W.W. ‘Coonbottom’ Glenn
Marianna, Florida
Woodrow was co-founder of the Florida Watermelon Association and served as its secretary and treasurer.
He was an active member in the NWA for over 31 years.
Woodrow Glenn served on the Lifetime Council of the National Watermelon Association (in 1973).
Woodrow attended and graduated from the University of Florida with a MA in 1918 and took a job in Jackson County as County Extension Director – where he worked for 30 years. Mr. Glenn retired in 1991.
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Gerald Funderburk
Jefferson, South Carolina
Gerald A Funderburk (1929-2014), of Jefferson, South Carolina was one such leader. He encouraged and advocated the advancement of others within the Association.
Although much of Mr. Funderburk’s time was spent in the wholesale selling of seeds, fertilizers, and chemicals, he made it a priority to be actively involved in both the South Carolina and National Watermelon Associations. His loyalty and service to the South Carolina Association placed him on their Lifetime Membership.
Gerald was also a leader in the National Watermelon Association serving on the Executive Committee and later on the Council in 2006. Mentors like Gerald Funderburk, make membership in the National Watermelon Association a meaningful and valuable experience.
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C.C. Winkler
Vincennes, Indiana
In February 19, 1921, at the 7th annual meeting of the Association, CC Winkler was listed among the Executive Committee members in attendance of the Melon Distributors Association in Vincennes, Indiana.
In April of 1926 at the 12th annual meeting, CC Winkler was Chairman of the Executive Committee and was elected President of the Association.
In July of 2015, at the opening of the Knox County Watermelon Festival, CC Winkler, aka “Mr. Watermelon” gave away slices of watermelon with the Mayor.  He was also acted as the Grand Marshall of the watermelon festival parade. (The Knox County Watermelon Festival was inaugurated in 1957, ceased for a short time in 1961, and began again in 1963. It continues to this day as an annual tradition.)
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The National Watermelon Hall of Fame Class of 2016 – the next four!

 

HOF banner with slice
The National Watermelon Association has a long history of remarkable leaders from the watermelon industry that have contributed their time, energy, and expertise to the Association and its members. The Association’s Hall of Fame has been created to honor the lives and contributions of these members, both past and present. We will inaugurate the Hall of Fame and recognize the first class of inductees during the National Convention in New Orleans, February 25th-27th, 2016.
 
We introduce the next four in the Class of 2016:
 silhouette-gentlemen
Tom Ayoob, JR
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Tom was known for his integrity and willingness to help others. He never hesitated to donate his time or money to the industry.
Known as the Watermelon King of Pittsburgh, and coined the phrase, ‘eats like sugar.’
Ayoob was usually the top contributor at the Watermelon Association auctions.  Tom served on the board of both the Florida and National Watermelon Associations.
A graduate from Duquesne University in 1955, Tom Ayoob spent 2 years in the Army where he coached softball.  He attended law school at Georgetown University for 1 ½ years, until his father asked him to come and take over the family business, Tom Ayoob Inc. He updated the company, improved technology, and expanded the product line.
Tom was also the president of the Pittsburgh Wholesale Produce Association at the time of his death.
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John Campbell
Lakeland, Florida
John Campbell operated Growers Marketing Service in Leesburg, Florida. Mr. Campbell was the second vice president of the Melon Distributors Association in 1937-38, and he served as the President of the National Watermelon Association prior to 1947. John also served as Chairman of the Executive Committee and the Executive Council.
In 1945, Lake, Marion, and Sumter county watermelon growers organized and formed the Watermelon Growers Association. The first president was John M Campbell – also the president of the growers’ marketing service in Leesburg at the time.
John was one of the 10 original committee members that established the original Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association in 1943.
John Campbell was known for his generosity.
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Oren Childers
Cordell, Georgia
Oren Childers operated Cedar Creek Melons in Crisp County – just outside Cordele, Georgia.
He served as National Watermelon Association President 1985-6. He was in leadership roles for the Association from 1983-1988, and served as an Executive Council member in his later years.
Oren farmed over 3000 acres and raised watermelon on about 1000 of those acres in Crisp County.
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Al Harrison
Nogales, Arizona
The Harrison Brothers wholesale produce company was established in Los Angeles, California in early 1930s by Al and Robert Harrison.
Al Harrison bought out his brother, moved the company to Nogales, Arizona and renamed the operation Al Harrison Produce Co Distributor Inc. He perfected melon and hard squash production and packaging. Al also established an internal transportation department.
By the 1970’s, Harrison captured nearly 90% of the watermelon market in the region and soon became known as the ‘Watermelon King.’
Al Harrison had a vast concept of marketing. One example was the ‘Mile Long Railroad Freight of Watermelons’ he organized as a promotion for a Canadian chain store and received a large amount of fanfare in the early seventies.
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#nwafuturisticfridays ~ Feeding the World with Leftovers

feed the world

While we currently produce enough food to feed the world’s 7.3 billion people, 795 million go hungry. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated a third of the world’s food fit for human consumption does not reach consumers.

Transportation, refrigeration, and preservation have always been major obstacles to be overcome in the distribution of food resources. Modern production lines have improved and these bumps in the road have become navigable.  A large part of the discrepancy, at least in the United States, remains due to waste by distributors, retailers, and consumers every year. A 2013 UN report estimated that 550 million tons of food are discarded every year – in the United States alone, 30% of all food is thrown away annually. Interestingly, food waste in developing countries occurs early in the production chain due greatly to managerial and technical constraints, while food waste takes place later in the process in industrialized countries. The United Nations and the United States have agreed to work toward a reduction of food waste over the next 10-15 years.

Promising solutions to the problem of food waste have already been presented and are being implemented in Europe and here at home. The sale and use of visually unappealing foodstuffs have been the focus of many of these programs. Nicolas Chabanne, a French entrepreneur with connections to fruit and vegetable farmers, has established a creative campaign he calls, ‘Gueules Cassees’ or in English, ‘Ugly Mugs.’ He has designed and sells a sticker-logo (a smiling apple with a black eye and single tooth) that is affixed to blemished produce and is sold at a reduced rate (at least a 30% discount). Mr. Chabanne, donates the majority of the proceeds from the sale of the stickers to other organizations that fight food waste. The Ugly Mugs concept has spread to other countries in Europe and America. similarly, in San Francisco, Imperfect Produce is a home-delivery service that sells damaged fruits and vegetables.

Chefs and food celebrities are also rallying against food waste with solutions of their own – creative cooking. In Milan, restaurant owner Massimo Bottura, in conjunction with Caritas Ambrosiana and Davide Rampello,  opened an experimental soup kitchen which serves delicious meals from salvaged food waste. The best chefs in the world, along with local volunteers, serve meals to a selection of Milan’s homeless population. They’ve turned day old bread into sweet puddings, black bananas into fabulous banana breads, and weekly broths and minestrone from bruised vegetables, scraps, and peelings. These recipes can be reproduced at home inexpensively by those on even the tightest budget. “These dishes change the way we feed the world, because they can be cooked by anyone, anywhere, on any budget,” said Mr. Bottura about the dishes served in Refettorio Ambrosiano. “For families in need, it’s a way to bring dignity back to the table – dignity based not on the quality of the ingredients, but on the quality of the ideas.”

Reducing food waste with programs like the ones I’ve mentioned, can not only provide food for those who might otherwise go hungry, but it also has an impact on our environment and natural resources. The squandering of food is also a squandering of water, land, energy and labor. Reducing food waste can only be accomplished if each of us considers ways in which we may better steward our own resources. We may not be able to feed the hungry in far away lands, but we do have opportunities to make a difference in our own community. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of the One who fed 5000 with two fish and five loaves, it is my hope that we would look for ways in which to meet the needs of our fellow-man and woman.

Nicole Schrader

 

“Food Waste Facts.” World Environment Day –. United Nations environment Programme, 2009. Web. 16 Dec. 2015. <http://www.unep.org/wed/2013/quickfacts/>.

Chauvet, Caroline. “Save the Planet. Eat Ugly.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 10 Dec. 2015. Web. 16 Dec. 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/11/business/energy-environment/save-the-planet-eat-ugly.html?_r=0>.

Bottura, Massimo. “Chef Massimo Bottura on Why the Future of Food Is in Our Trash.” WSJ. The Wall Street Journal, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015. <http://www.wsj.com/articles/chef-massimo-bottura-on-why-the-future-of-food-is-in-our-trash-1449506020>.

Meet the Hall of Fame Class of 2016

 

HOF banner with slice
The National Watermelon Association has a long history of remarkable leaders from the watermelon industry that have contributed their time, energy, and expertise to the Association and its members. The Association’s Hall of Fame has been created to honor the lives and contributions of these members, both past and present. We will inaugurate the Hall of Fame and recognize the first class of inductees during the National Convention in New Orleans, February 25th-27th, 2016.
 
The following are the second four members of  the inauguration class of 2016!
F H Dicks, Jr
Barnwell, South Carolina
FH Dicks Company of Barnwell began growing and selling watermelon in 1935.
F H served as the President of the National Watermelon Association from 1962-1963. He also served many years on the Executive Committee of the NWA. He was the President of the South Carolina Watermelon Association.
He served the community as a merchant of the General Store of Dunbarton, SC in 1951 and was Mayor in 1951.
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J D ‘Johnny’ Lowe, Jr
Henderson, Texas

Johnny operated JD Lowe Jr Co, Inc. and established the

HIGH – LOWE trademark.
He helped found the Texas Watermelon Growers and Shippers Association and served as its President. Johnny was President of the National Watermelon Association from 1970-1971.
The Association recognized him at the 1971 Convention for outstanding contributions and devotion to the National Watermelon Growers and Distributors Association. He served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the NWA in 1971.
Johnny was a wholesale distributor of fresh fruit and vegetables.
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Vincent ‘Jim’ Vitale
Detroit, Michigan
Faro Vitale and Sons was established in the 1940s. Jim, joined his father’s business after World War II. They moved to Eastern Market and transitioned to produce.
Jim soon became known as the ‘Watermelon Man’ by the 1980s; he was selling over 24 million pounds of watermelon a year.
He served as President of the National Watermelon Association from 1980-1981. He was a Lifetime Council member of the National Watermelon Association until his death in 2007.
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Ernie Zaferis
Los Angeles, California
Ernie was a produce wholesaler and established United Melon Distributors.
Ernie was an active member of the NWA from 1965-1990. He was an active participant in the auctions and was devoted to the watermelon industry.
Zaferis Brothers Produce – initially sold produce door to door.
Touched a lot of people at his funeral there was standing room only at St Sophia’s (1500+ people) – where he was a member of the Board of Trustees.
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National Watermelon Association introduces it’s Hall of Fame Inductees of 2016

hall of fame w logo

The National Watermelon Association has a long history of remarkable leaders from the watermelon industry that have contributed their time, energy, and expertise to the Association and its members. The Association’s Hall of Fame has been created to honor the lives and contributions of these members, both past and present. We will inaugurate the Hall of Fame and recognize the first class of inductees during the National Convention in New Orleans, February 25th-27th, 2016.
 
The following are the first four members of  the inauguration class of 2016!
BG Anderson  bg anderson image
B. G Anderson Company, Eustis, Florida established 1968.
Old Dobbin Watermelons (51-27, was the special select variety of B G Anderson Company. It was expressly grown and packaged for B G Anderson by the Simpson Nursery Company of Monticello, Florida (the world’s largest growers of watermelons for seed).
Bill Knowles
Knowles and Co, Leesburg, Florida
Sergeant At Arms of the Melon Distributors Association from 1937-1938.
Bill was one of the original members of what we now call the ‘National Watermelon Association.’
“He was a registering agent for the NWA – until the Association changed its name” – Buddy Leger
Foremost Fertilizer Company est 1947
J B Easterling
(1890-1970)
JB Easterling was a watermelon broker in Montezuma, Georgia.
He was one of three founders of Southern Frozen Foods, Inc. and
Easterling Pecan Co, Inc.
JB was one of the oldest members of the NWA.
He served on the Executive Committee and Executive Council of the  National Watermelon Association.
Bob Dietz

(1927-2000)

Bob Dietz, R H Dietz and Sons Inc – established in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois.
Bob was known as the “Watermelon King of Chicago.” He received the Auction Watermelon King Buyer Award 1976, 1977, and  1984.
Bob served 24 years on the Executive Committee and Council for the National Watermelon Association.
Bob also held the world record for watermelon large seed spitting at 66 feet and 3 inches!
 Every Monday, for the next seven (7) weeks, we will familiarize you with each member of this inaugural class.

#nwafuturisticfridays – Christmas is Coming…

 

Kenneth Moore_Scrooge_1970

Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving, but it seems that Christmas is already upon us. Our little town of Lakeland held it’s annual Christmas parade last night and Santa’s entrance reminded me that Christmas is just around the corner. Although the season brings with it a multitude of things to do, it also ushers in an atmosphere of excitement, joy, gratitude, and generosity, like no other time of the year. On Fridays, I usually focus on issues related to the future. Today I considered writing about the response of the greeting card industry to the downward slope of sales due to the lack of appeal to Millennials. But instead, in response to the sights and sounds of Christmas pressing in around me, I’m going to join Scrooge and consider Christmas Present.

In the classic tale, ‘A Christmas Carol,’ Scrooge is taken by three ghosts on a journey of his past, present and tentative future Christmases in a successful effort to bring about a transformation in his character. During his time with the ghost of Christmas Present, his perspective is broadened as he witnesses the Christmas celebrations of his employee and his nephew. I do not intend to take you on that kind of journey, but I do believe it would benefit us all to take time to consider the value of those with whom we most closely associate.

In reference to the use of new technology and ‘the cloud’, unorthodox methods of communication or procedure, and requests for unprecedented venues or work hours, any executive may respond in a more ‘Scrooge-like’ manner. Nevertheless, the workplace is changing rapidly as are the methods of doing business – and at the forefront of the change are the Millennials.

In a recent article, ‘Millennials are not Fruitcake,’ the XYZ University staff writer tells us that, although Millennials are not like the traditional and somewhat inedible Christmas confection, they do bring ‘gifts’ to the workforce and workplace. Phil Dell points out that because Millennials have grown up with technology, they instinctively use it to get things done. What might have been deemed untraditional or unprofessional in regard to processes and methodology, is becoming commonplace. Embracing the innovative and enthusiastic nature of these young professionals and appreciating their skills will truly result in many happy returns.

Relationships and a natural integration of work and personal life have always been a challenge for full-time employees, and often sacrifices were required and expected. These values are meaningful to Millennials and respecting them will bring about the best possible outcome in your workplace as well as on your bottom line.

To truly celebrate the holiday season well, we ought to take the lessons learned by Ebenezer Scrooge to heart and recognize the worth of those around us. Merry Christmas!

 

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him…and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!

 

Nicole Schrader

 

“DREAMS ARE WHAT LE CINEMA IS FOR…” : SCROOGE 1970. N.p., 27 July 2013. Web. 04 Dec. 2015. <http://lecinemadreams.blogspot.com/2013/07/scrooge-1970.html>.

Dell, Phil. “Part One Millennials Arent Fruitcake.docx.” Google Docs. XYZ University, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015. <https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B65KhrCPEpdiVHhpcGpielFhVWc/view>.