No summer spread would be complete without at least one watermelon dish to beat the heat. Just ask Florida watermelon and potato farmer Brent Shackelford. Brent farms 500 acres of watermelons with his brothers, and he’s come up with some creative ways to make sure not a single melon goes to waste.
The Shackelfords make sure their excess produce gets to those who need it. That means partnering with local food banks to stock their shelves with healthy fruits and vegetables for families in need. Brent and his brothers also work with the sheriff’s department to help provide produce for inmate meals.
“Even though Florida produces fresh vegetables for five or six months out of the year, the food banks still struggle to get vegetables, canned or fresh, for families in need,” Brent said. “Working with the food banks is a great way to give back to the community and make sure that nothing goes to waste.”
As for the stuff that’s not fit for the food banks or the sheriff’s department? Those melons and potatoes go to nearby ranchers for livestock feed. As it turns out, even cows love the refreshing taste of watermelon.
Brent recommends that households reduce waste by committing to meal planning and working on developing cooking skills.
“If you have a friend or relative who’s really good at cooking, ask them to share their favorite recipes,” Brent said. “You can even make conversation out of it, like, ‘Hey, mine wasn’t as good as yours. What’s your secret?’” he added with a laugh.
No Taste For Waste Tip: Save those rinds! Get started creating new dishes with this food-waste busting watermelon rind pickle recipe. They might sound odd, but they’re truly delicious alongside grilled pork chops or just right out of the jar.
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