Origins of the Opa-lope
When I moved my family to Richmond, Texas (a suburb of Houston) several years ago, my wife and I made a commitment to living a healthier lifestyle. We started with incorporating more physical activities into our evening routine but soon realized that our poor diet (primarily dominated by corporate fast foods) was ruining our family's health and jeopardizing our longevity.
So I began growing fruits and vegetables organically and using the compost I had made from grass clippings and earth worms. I still am adamant about not using pesticides or fertilzers. About 3 years ago, my Asian squash plant somehow cross-pollinated with a jumbo cantalope variety I had gotten from the local Korean supermarket to become my Opa-lope, a new fruit/vegetable hybrid.
This year will be the third season I have been sharing this wonderful fruit with my family, friends, negihbors and co-workers. All of whom have developed and shared wonderful recipes that span the world in terms of international flavors and culinary genres. The tremendous quality about the opa-lope is that once peeled (like a cantaloupe) the opa-lope can be eaten raw or cooked and does not need ripening. So far, many people are using it on salads for the crunch and freshness factor similarly to jicama, or pears. While the cooked applications range from stir-fry's with seafood (shrimp & crab), chicken & turkey, to beef (Korean beef). I find that my kids love it the most as a simple soup (opa-lope in chicken broth with spring onions) cooks in less than 4 minutes.
The more unbelievable quality is the fact that I have lost 14 lbs this year and has kept the weight off just by incorporating more of the opa-lope into my family's diet. If you examine the picture of my wife holding two of the fruits, can you guess how old she is? I won't disclose her exact age, but I will tell you that she's OVER 40. My oldest son is 20 and starting his 3rd year at the University of Houston so you can do the math on your own...but I digress.
Each fruit can feed a family of four for several days and that's when I had my epiphany. This opa-lope is the "fruit of life" and belongs to the world's neediest majority and should be use in a real and profound way to fight hunger, first on a local level and then on a more broader scale as a new food source/innovation similarly to the way the banana was market to Americans some 40 yrs ago..
Although I am a financial manager by training and education (MBA), I realized that my professional career of 20 years will never provide me with the opportunity to affect the world in such a primal, profound and necessary way and on such a magnitude, until now.
Although I have spent a significant amount of my family's financial resources on this endeavor to this point, it has been the most worthwhile and rewading experience. I am appealing to your generosity, kindness and financial support to help me continue and complete this journey. In addition to the perks you will be getting, your donations will help me and my family pay for legal and start-up fees associated with establishing a non-profit farming cooperative for my opa-lope.
On an ancillary commentary, it is shameful that the problem of hunger even exist in America 2012 but in this pro-longed, poor economic environment, many Americans are suffering in silent desperation due to the inability to feed their families. If our social safety nets (welfare/food stamps) fail to protect our most vulnerable citizens now and in the coming days, only the infrastructure of religious organizations and non-profit social services can help give HOPE to our brothers and sisters in need. That is why this campaign will have in its charter a 10% pledge to various churches and shelters with current, active programs combating hunger.
We are proud to be Americans and I pray that your financial and spiritual support of this campaign will help eradicate this unnecessary problem. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!
Team on This Campaign: