Happy Monday to all and welcome to my second installment of Texas Talent, where I showcase talented Texans who live, love and work in the Texas food industry. Today I have the honor of interviewing Tony Anderson from What-A-Melon located locally here in Edinburg, Texas. I knew the instant I tasted Tony’s wonderfully sweet watermelons, that I had to chat with him. My love for watermelons runs deep beginning with fond childhood memories to present day daily indulgences. In the past before I began blogging I don’t think I appreciated the time, patience and love that went into growing these highly addictive melons. I was much too consumed with my melon fetish that I put aside the wonderful farmers who bless me each year with their produce. In researching I found that Texas ranks 3rd in production in the US and almost 42,000 acres here are devoted to provide us with a perfectly sun kissed product. Tony’s family has been growing watermelons since the 1960s and after purchasing many of his red jewels, I can clearly understand why his family business thrives and I hope they continue to offer us many more years of wonderful watermelons. Let’s chat with Tony for awhile and move on to our featured recipe. Please help me in thanking Tony for his ever sweet product, and offer our condolences to Tony for his father Deroy Anderson recently passed. I am certain Tony will continue his father’s great work and look forward to enjoying many more watermelon from What -A -Melon. Enjoy, Sweet Life
Sweet Life – Hello Tony , welcome can you please give my readers a little background into your family business, What- A- Melon.
Tony- WhatAMelon is the brand name for Anderson Produce. My dad, Deroy Anderson, started growing watermelons in the 1960’s with his father, JT, in Yoakum county in west Texas. At first they would grow and harvest the watermelons and sell them to watermelon “brokers” who would travel around buying watermelons from different growing areas throughout the season. Watermelons were a supplement to farming cotton and grain and raising cattle until the late seventies. After some setbacks in the cattle market, my Dad decided to focus full time on watermelons. It is a decision he never regretted. Over the next decades, his insistence on quality helped build Anderson Produce and it’s marketing arm, Texas Melon Exchange, into one of the largest watermelon shipping operations in the country.
Sweet Life- What is the process in selecting only the finest melons for your consumers?
Tony- Moving an army is a better description of the process. We ship watermelons from our packing facility in Edinburg from November through June. We then move several truckloads of equipment and a small army of people to Midland Texas. We then repeat the process and move it all to Plains Texas. When the harvest is finished in Plains we move it all back down to Edinburg. The people are what allows us to ship the best watermelon day in and day out. You have to have experienced people to select the ripe watermelons from the fields, and then grade the watermelons at the packing facility. My father passed away last week, and a big part of his legacy will be the group of people he put together, many who have been with him more than 20 years, and one who worked with him for 44 years.
Thanks Tony and please stop by Wednesday as we continue our chat. Shall we enjoy watermelon? What if you combined fresh Texas watermelon and Texas peaches in a sweet, savory salad. Roasting the peaches on high temp allows them time to release their juices, making for easy processing. Add good olive oil and freshly ground pepper drizzle on slices of watermelon for a perfect side salad for your next meal. Easy, quick and tasty, really what else could you ask for. Enjoy!
Stop by and check out What-A-Melon’s site. Above picture taken at What-A-Melon location.
Watermelon with Roasted Peach Pepper Vinaigrette
by Sweet Life
by Vianney Rodriguez
4 peaches, halved seed removed
freshly ground pepper
Place peach halves on roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil.
Broil on high heat until lightly charred.
Place peaches in food processor and begin to process, slowly add olive oil to thin slightly.
Taste and add salt.
Process again adding freshly ground pepper, add pepper to your taste, season with salt if needed.
Want more watermelon? try agua de sandia… click here..
Loving the Sweet Life, hey subscribe and enjoy each recipe sent directly to your email…
(oh and lastly all pictures and words are mine, yes mine, don’t be sleazy and steal work..it’s copyrighted, yup all mine…love ya! Sweet Life)
Kathe Colton says
I have been out of the loop for several years, and did not know that Deroy had died. I have thought of him often, and fondly, over the years. What-A-Melon is, has always been, and will always be, the best watermelon grown!
• May the peace which comes from the memories of love shared, comfort you now and in the days ahead Deroy was great man. Knew him in Dilley Texas
Oh my goodness, this just sounds so tasty and refreshing, I have to run out and get a watermelon. What a wonderful interview. I love that you showcase the local producers. Too cool!
Simply Life says
I love the photos and now I want watermelon!
We love you pawpaw!! Look down and be proud, you’ve left more than a legacy, you left a family that loves you and will continue to folow in your footsteps 🙂 We’re proud to be Anderson’s and/or know Anderson’s
A Canadian Foodie says
I love you r idea of featuring a local producer. They so deserve it, don’t they? I think I should do the same… I just did a post about my favourite Saturday morning grocery picks, which introduced a lot of my personal providers to my local reading community. I meed to do more. Thanks for the motivation!
Eric Zey says
I know first hand that Tony Anderson “is a chip off the old block”. These are quality people that always ship the best of the harvest.
For over 25 years I’ve never stopped enjoying their wonderful watermelon.
@ Eric…thanks for stopping by
so unique, the flavors must be awesome…. great job with the interview, interesting as usual…
Sanjeeta kk says
Lovely and refreshing recipe!
jen cheung says
great interview girl. love the recipes !!! you’ve done a great job 🙂
have a lovely day lady.
What a fun interview! we always have watermelon around the house. It’s so perfect to grab for a midday snack!
I really should start using it in other incarnations though. Like this salad for instance…
You make the best recipes! Love it!
5 Star Foodie says
Great interview and the roasted peach pepper vinaigrette sounds amazing over watermelon! Gorgeous!
Ali @ Three Baking Sheets says
Great interview, great recipe (I’m dying to know what the watermelon tastes like paired with that sweet and zesty vinaigrette) and I really enjoyed reading about Tony’s company.
Love the series, looking forward to the next installment 🙂
Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner says
Sounds totally bizarre yet terribly tantalizing!!! I’m going to have to try that.
Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma What’s For Dinner
Nice interview…and the watermelon with the peach sauce looks awesome…what a great and refreshing combination…the photos are great!
What a fun interview. That watermelon cut so pretty looks so good. I bet it was delicious with the peach vinaigrette!
Blond Duck says
This series was such a great idea!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
What a great story and indeed a great series! It’s always great to know more about the people behind the food that we eat 🙂
Ooo, girl, I hope that you are feeling totally awesome again after your illness. Thanks for interviewing Tony–it really helps to put a face to those who have been helping us in the city survive with their hard work in growing food. That watermelon dish that you’ve cooked up looks so cute…
denise @ quickies on the dinner table says
A truly enlightening read – I’ll never look at watermelon the same again!
Love the dressing and your quirky presentation!
P/s – can I sit with you and Stella too? I spit real good 😀
I like that name What-A-Melon too! And nice cut-out slices from these luscious melons. I can put (blend) that into my ice pops 🙂
Biren @ Roti n Rice says
Nice interview with Tony. That vinaigrette and watermelon sounds like an interesting combo.
Baking is my Zen says
Watermelon is my favorite fruit! The Peach Pepper Vinaigrette sounds delish.
Nice interview with Tony. Sorry to read about his dad.
p.s. Have you experienced people stealing your photography?
@Carmen… I have not had anything stolen, thanks goodness…but my copyright button has not been working and it’s frustrating me..so I left my own litte note, lol
As a new Texan…I’m so enjoying these Texas Talent Posts! I love watermelon, and I’ve found that the local watermelons are just delicious. I love the recipe that you included in your post…such a unique choice. Thank you for sharing with me, and I hope you have a wonderful week.
@Monet..oh Monet your comments are always so nice, thanks girl … I LOVE the local melons..delish!!
Design Wine and Dine says
That recipe and those pictures are beautiful! I love recipes like this, unexpected, unique, savory and sweet! Love it!
Thanks for sharing Tony’s story. Sounds like his father was a smart, smart man and sounds like he left the business in the capable hands of Tony – who will continue making him proud!
Bonnie…I would literally bathe in fresh lusciously sweet watermelon…and no ancho this time ;o) Your vinaigrette is very versatile…thanks.
BTW…thanks for leaving me a note on the chile peppers less seed method…I promise, I’ll give it a fair shake the next time I’m approached with such a fiesty dish ;o)
Love the WhatAMelon name for the brand…brilliant.
It’s nice of you to showcase your pride in your state of Texas ;o)
Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,
I love your Texas Talent posts! Keep ’em comin’! 🙂
Belinda @zomppa says
A watermelon exchange? I had no idea Texas was #3. Gorgeous photos!
Hey Bonnie! This is a wonderful post. I often wonder why people aren’t more interested in the farmers who painstakingly grow their food and what techniques they use.
The watermelon produced by What-a-Melon looks beautiful. And I love that photo of the slices-makes me want one;) Would you sit outside with me and spit seeds (smile)? Oh, and I love hearing a farmer say that they no longer have to sell to a broker. That’s great!
Wonderful post, Bonnie. Stella
@Stella….oh girl I would sit outside with you all day and spit seeds, but get ready for chuls and pips to join us, lol their like chicle…(gum) lol
What an interesting recipe: Although I am not a big fan of watermelon, that vinaigrette sounds very tempting.
I absolutely adore watermelon and eat it every day of summer, but rarely ever dress it up at all. This sounds like a very different but delicious approach!
Very interesting read and a wonderful idea to highlight local talent.
Sommer @ A Spicy Perspective says
Wonderful interview, Bonnie! I LOVE the idea of peach dressing on watermelon–what a bright, fresh combo!