Nothing says summer like fresh, ripe watermelon, and with year-round availability, it's the perfect complement to any salad bar or buffet line.

What Native to Africa, the watermelon is one of two broad categories of melon (the other being muskmelon). Today, over 1,200 varieties of watermelons are grown worldwide in 96 countries. The most popular varieties include Picnic, Seedless, Icebox, Yellow Flesh and Mini-watermelons. Forty-four states grow watermelons, with Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and Arizona consistently leading the country in production.

Why Watermelon is sweet, juicy, bright and more importantly, its not just for slicing anymore. With a subtle watery flavor, watermelon has no fat or cholesterol and is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6 and C and contains both fiber and potassium.

Prep Ideas Whatever the occasion, there's a watermelon dish to match.
• Welcome students back to school with a Watermelon Lemonade.
• Planning a picnic? Try serving Watermelon Feta Bruschetta.
• For a tasty dose of antioxidants try the Watermelon Almond Sherbet.

For more recipes visit: www.watermelon.org/watermelon_recipe.asp [3]