USF student brings dream to life: Watermelon juice

- Tucked away in the corner of a massive strawberry manufacturing plant is the humble home of Desmond Williams' dream: Aquamelon.

"What we've done is figured out how to take the water out of the watermelon, and put it into a bottle," Williams said Wednesday.

The USF graduate student and routine runner came by the idea honestly.

"We would habitually cut open watermelons, throw them into the refrigerator. After we trained for these long runs, we'd come in with spoons and eat these watermelons right off the rind. There would be huge puddles of juice left over in the rind, and we began to drink that juice," he said.

Turns out, it's pretty sweet for your health, too.

"Watermelon juice is actually packed with electrolytes and it's super rich in an amino acid called citrulline, which athletes have been using for years to soothe sore muscles after working out," Williams said. 

Two years ago, he put his idea to work. Using his business and biochemistry background, he and his partners created a concept to quickly and efficiently squeeze out and bottle up the juice of the temperamental melon.

That process is top secret.

"It takes some special methods in order to de-rind the melon really fast in large quantities, to separate the meat from the rind of the melon," he said.

Already, 9,000 bottles have been sold in the Bay Area since Aquamelon launched in February. Now, Publix is eyeing the product and considering rolling it out in some south Florida stores.

For Williams, it's a pinch me moment.

"There are numerous people everyday throughout the Tampa Bay area picking up a bottle in a hotel, in a restaurant, in a grocery store, somewhere, drinking it. And that's pretty cool," he said.

Aquamelon is already sold in places like Rollin' Oats in Tampa and Locale Market in St. Pete. Williams should hear from Publix soon. He's set to graduate from USF in the spring of 2016.

For more information on Aquamelon, click here.

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