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The Camouflage Melon is ripe for business

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Being stuck at work on a nice day has many people watching the clock and daydreaming about the beach.

It has Lon Eikren switching careers.

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"I want to be where the action is," said a smiling Eikren, "to have a good time and have the freedom to do what I want."

Eikren, who formerly owned Becker Pet and Garden, sold his store last fall, and is now pulling his new business venture behind him wherever he wants to.

He is setting up a new food cart called "Camouflage Melon."

And frankly, there's no good reason for the name.

"I want to serve a real random assortment of food, so I didn't want a name that was specific to any type of food ... I'm a random kind of a guy and a camouflage melon is pretty random."

Eikren does not have a set menu, but it will be sandwich based.

"And then whatever I can come up with to fit that -- soup and jalapeño poppers, and then I want to try doing some BBQ."

Eikren hopes a big draw will be what he calls his "nice, crispy grilled cheese sandwiches."

"I've got four different cheeses, and some different meats I can throw on them..."

The question is, will they ever have any melon?

"Ah, we might throw a little melon in here or there ... maybe a watermelon feta salad or something."

Eikren admits that while he doesn't have any formal food training, he loves watching the food channel and wants the Camouflage Melon to be a fun experience like something you'd see on some of those shows.

"But people might have to bear with me a little bit as I learn and experiment," said Eikren.

Like many other eating establishments, a food vendor will deliver to Eikren three times a week, but unlike others, he will also be finding some of his food in his own yard.

"I have a greenhouse, so I am going to try to grow as much of the produce as I can and incorporate that into the food."

And if Eikren's crop doesn't produce enough for the demand, he's covered.

"I'll be setting up at the Farmer's Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10-2, so I might have to purchase some things from them there if I run short," he laughs.

The Camouflage Melon will also do some ripening in the sun during the summer months, as Eikren will also sit down by the beach, across from the pavilion, which is where you'll find him much of the time.

He plans to be open "11ish to 7ish", but says it all depends on the day.

"The good thing about this is, if it's bad weather and nobody wants to be out and about, I don't have to be either. If it's a busy day at the beach, I might stay open until the bars close."

The Camouflage Melon will also be offering up its random tasties at the Detroit Lakes Street Faire and the Boys and Girls Club Beach Bash.

"DL has so much going on in the summer that you can just pick a spot and be there."

Eikren says another fun thing about his new venture is the fact that it will be a family affair.

His wife, Sally, two daughters and dad have already been helping him man the melon.

"My 9-year-old daughter likes to learn the money aspect of it, and my 12-year-old is getting really social and likes helping out at the window, so it'll be good."

To follow Eikren and his mobile melon, you can "like" him on Facebook -- just search for "Camouflage Melon."

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