As you may have noticed by now, What About Watermelon is home to a very smart panel of watermelon experts. That’s them in the right hand sidebar. You can ask them anything you’d like about watermelon, and you’ll get a personalized response. Some questions will even be featured right here on the blog.
Below is a little more information about each of our experts to help you all get to know our wise watermelon panelists a little better.
CHEF HARRY SCHWARTZ
Expertise: Cooking and preparing watermelon
Chef Harry is the creator and host of the popular PBS show, “Chef Harry and Friends,” and is known for his high-energy shows on Shop at Home Network. He has appeared as a regular contributor on NBC’s “Today Show” as well as the KTLA-CBS Food Guru in Los Angeles and the Fox Food Guru in Nashville.
He has written a syndicated feature for Copley news service, authored 5 books and serves as a creative spokesperson and consultant for several corporations. He contributes to several news and talk shows and is Culinary and Creative Director for Heritage Trail Vineyards, Winery and Cafe. For more information about Chef Harry, feel free to visit his website at chefharry.com.
Expertise: Growing and harvesting watermelon
Josh Bailey comes from a family farming background, and he started his own operation called Premier Melon Company in January 2004. Previously, he worked for his uncle’s company for 10 years, gaining experience in watermelon growing and handling.
Josh lives in Schoolcraft, Michigan, and is a past president of the National Watermelon Promotion Board.
DR. PENNY PERKINS-VEAZIE
Expertise: The science of watermelon
Dr. Perkins-Veazie specializes in postharvest methods, shelf life, and phytochemical changes of fruits and vegetables. Previously, she worked for 20 years for the USDA, in the Agricultural Research Service, at Lane, OK.
Dr. Perkins-Veazie has authored or co-authored more than 100 research papers and pioneered studies on changes in lycopene and other carotenoids in watermelon germplasm, with storage, production environment and with minimal processing.
In her current position, Dr. Perkins-Veazie is responsible in coordinating human health trials to address chronic diseases that encompass horticultural crops, human nutrition, and medical science.
Expertise: Health benefits of watermelon
Elizabeth Somer, M.A.,R.D., is a nutritionist, dietician and author of several books, including Age-Proof Your Body, Food & Mood, The Food & Mood Cookbook , and Nutrition For Women. She is an Advisory Board member to Shape Magazine and Editor in Chief of Nutrition Alert, a newsletter that summarizes the current research from more than 6,000 journals.
Elizabeth is a frequent guest on NBC’s Today, former nutrition correspondent to ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Later Today, and she appears monthly on AMNorthWest, the Portland, Oregon morning show. Her hour-long special on Age-Proof Your Body aired nationwide on Public Television in 2001.
QUEEN MAGGIE BAILEY
Expertise: Pretty much anything related to watermelons!
Maggie Bailey, crowned the 2009 National Watermelon Queen, is from Vincennes, Indiana. As National Watermelon Queen, Maggie travels throughout the U.S. and abroad, promoting the watermelon industry and making guest appearances at special events and in the media.
Maggie will give selection tips and food safety tips as well as inform people about the nutritional and culinary benefits of watermelon. She will also educate consumers on the versatility and economic value of watermelon and field questions about life as the National Watermelon Queen.
Expertise: Kids’ stuff about watermelons
J. Slice, the National Watermelon Promotion Board’s mascot, communicates watermelon’s nutritional value and great taste to children and parents everywhere. J. Slice is active in just about every sport there is, but he especially loves skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding. When he’s not outside having fun, J. Slice fights Professor Junk Food, and rescues kids from getting hooked on the Professor’s unhealthy offerings. Feel free to ask J. Slice about how watermelon can be a part of any kid’s healthy diet.