Cancel OK

California Cantaloupe Advisory Board introduces Possible Burger at IFPA’s Consumer Connection

cantaloupe possible burger
The Possible Burger unveiled at Consumer Connection ‘Social Soiree’ (left to right) Miranda Olagaray, Farmers Communication Exchange; Tara Monreal, Westside/Classic; Chef Will Horowitz; Vendana Sheth, RDN, CDCES, FAND.

May 9, 2024 Dinuba, CA — Last week the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board (CCAB) introduced an exciting new concept for a meatless burger to attendees at the International Fresh Produce Association/Foundation for Fresh Produce (FFP) Consumer Connection Conference.

“What better place to roll out our new campaign featuring this unique vegan burger made from fresh cantaloupe?” said Garrett Patricio, Chairman of CCAB and President of year-round melon supplier, Westside/Classic. “This group already understands that fresh produce suppliers can gain new customers, especially younger ones, with exciting ideas for using fresh produce.”

As part of the the Consumer Connection Conference, Emily Holdorf, influencer and community manager for FFP, shared data showing that Gen Z consumers are more health-focused than other generations. As an example, they are under indexing in alcohol consumption and over indexing in meat alternatives.

“This is exactly why we tapped New York-based Chef Will Horowitz who has developed a series of interesting meatless options using fresh produce like prosciutto made from radishes, hot dogs from carrots and even a watermelon ham,” said Marilyn Freeman, Farmers Communications Exchange, which serves as the marketing and public relations firm for the CCAB. “We were really excited for the produce industry members and influencers attending Consumer Connection to meet Will and to try the cantaloupe burger.”

Will Horowitz, the creator of the cantaloupe burger is an acclaimed New York based chef, food writer and culinary consultant.

Hailed by the NY Times in a 2016 front-cover exposé as a “fearless explorer of all things culinary.” He is most known as the former owner of well-awarded New York City restaurants Ducks Eatery and Harry & Ida’s Meat and Supply Co. And he is the inventor of multiple international food products and viral social media sensations. He specializes in integrating heritage food techniques and ingredients into modern renewable practices.

“For me as a chef, we want consumers to have all the options they are looking for. With the rise of vegan and plant-based diets, restaurants really don’t have a lot of options,” explains Horowtiz. “With items like the cantaloupe burger, we can take whole vegetables and whole fruits and prepare them using old processes like smoking, barbecuing and grilling. For us that’s much more of a natural route than taking something that is over-processed or created in some sort of laboratory and really isn’t in the same ethos as a farm-to-table restaurant.”

“We heard about Will and his watermelon “ham” that went viral back in 2018 before his restaurants closed during the pandemic,” explains Patricio. “But when we learned he had developed a cantaloupe burger, we were intrigued. After speaking with him about how and why he creates these products, we knew he would be a great fit with cantaloupe farmers and the produce industry in general.”
“We designed the cantaloupe burger so that consumers can look at this fruit in a completely new, reimagined way,” explains Horowitz. “In this concept, we wanted cantaloupe to really be the star of the plate. And people love burgers.

“The cantaloupe burger came about simply because of how much moisture was in the melon and how delicious they are from the start,” Horowitz continues. “We started by taking slightly under ripe cantaloupe, curing it and smoking it, so that when you bit into it, it wasn’t too sweet. I wouldn’t say it’s a replica of a burger. It’s really its own beautiful thing.”

The CCAB campaign has dubbed this smoked cantaloupe burger the Possible Burger. The recipe is posted on the organization’s website and this summer it will be promoted widely on social media. A how-to video, consumer giveaways, and more information about Will and why he created this concept will be coming soon.

“We started out letting the marketing professionals attending Consumer Connection try the burger,” said Freeman. “It was really well received and a lot of people were truly surprised at how great it tastes. A video of conference attendees experiencing the Possible Burger for the first time is featured here.”

According to the CCAB, this recipe can be made at home.

“We hope consumers will suspend their previous beliefs about cantaloupe and give this a try. Why not?” says Patricio.

Contact: Marilyn Freeman