Focusing some of its promotions on those who love fine foods, the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association plans to promote the state’s spring crops through working with chefs.

The La Grange-based association also plans to promote its produce through a national newspaper feature and other venues.

“We are kind of stepping up our promotions to the foodie level of recipes and people interested in food and wine,” said Charles Hall, the association’s executive director.

The group developed a nationally syndicated Family Features article for distribution in newspaper weekend family sections.

Scheduled to run in May and June during the height of the Georgia season, the “Summer Treats” article includes recipes featuring that show shoppers how they can use the five commodities in their menu planning.

The association plans a June 15-17 retail blitz at eight Macon, Ga., supermarkets. The event is a partnership between the sorority council at Mercer University that is scheduled to train sorority members to be watermelon spokeswomen, raise money for sorority charities and help promote the fruit, Hall said.

Hall said the National Watermelon Association, Plant City, Fla., suggested such a promotion that would allow the Georgia association to work with retailers, brokers and shippers to better promote watermelon. Hall said Florida’s watermelon association conducted a similar campaign last year at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

If the campaign is successful, Hall said the association may expand it to other cities next season.

In another watermelon promotion, the association plans a campaign at the July 4 Atlanta Braves baseball game. The Georgia watermelon queen is scheduled to appear as an honorary captain at a ball game and the association plans to feature watermelon signs on the ballpark’s scoreboards.

Those advertisements are scheduled to run throughout June and July and are estimated to make nearly 1 million impressions, Hall said.


Georgia’s peach industry is turning to social media to help it persuade more shoppers to add the state’s peaches to their carts.

The Georgia Peach Council, Byron, plans to promote peaches through social media, billboards, advertisements and events built around holidays such as Fourth of July festivities in Atlanta, Tampa, Fla., and Orlando, Fla.

Last season, the council focused its marketing muscle on Florida.

Council president Duke Lane III, vice president of sales at Lane Southern Orchards, Fort Valley, Ga., called the outreach a success.

“Moving into Florida, we were anxious to see how receptive the customers would be to Georgia peaches,” he said.

Lane said the council plans to employ more social media by working with food bloggers and helping them educate consumers about Georgia’s peaches and their taste and availability.