Runners in the Produce Marketing Association’s 5K Race for Talent were cheered on by a crowd of industry enthusiasts and the “Grāpple Ape” in New Orleans. The Grāpple Apple mascot made a positive first impression at the conference, promoting the importance of healthy eating, according to a news release.

The Grāpple Ape also connected with retailers who plan to bring the mascot to their stores to promote the grape-flavored apples, produced by CMI and Rainier Fruit. It will also be at other conventions, charitable events and next year’s Race for Talent 5K in Anaheim.

The 900 race participants raised $115,000 in sponsorships for the PMA foundation. The money will contribute to the foundation’s mission — to help retain and cultivate talented professionals in the produce industry.