Buyers with the Military Produce Group recently viewed the diversity of The Sunshine State’s produce by touring central Florida growing regions.
During an early March tour sponsored by the Tallahassee-based Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, merchandising personnel with the Norfolk, Va.-based military procurement group toured production areas of citrus, strawberries, watermelon, peaches, potatoes and mushrooms.
The organization procures and distributes produce to all of the Defense Commissary Agency’s eastern U.S. military commissaries.
The tours are valuable way to meet growers and evaluate crops, Randy Brittain, Military Produce Group’s director of procurement, said in a news release.
“We always come away from these farm tours with opportunities to increase our sales and promotions,” Brittain said in the release. “This tour is special in that we have our field merchandising specialists with us so they are able to see the sales opportunities first-hand and can provide great support at store level. They will also leave with a better perspective and appreciation of what it takes to get these products to their stores.”
Education of procurement and produce specialists is important in understanding the challenges associated with the cold chain supply, according to the release.
The group visited Astin Strawberry Exchange LLC in Plant City, Fla., Florida Classic Growers, Dundee, Fla., Mack Farms Inc. and McMelon Inc., Lake Wales, Fla., Watsonville, Calif.-based Monterey Mushrooms Inc.’s Zellwood, Fla., facility, Vero Beach, Fla.-based Seald Sweet International and one of its growers, Hunt Bros. Cooperative in Lake Wales, Fla.