Todd Linsky (left), vice president of organic sales for Grimmway Farms, Lamont, Calif., talks to Ray Mattern, vendor development manager for Loblaw, on Sept. 11 under the trade show tent in Newport, R.I., at the New England Produce Council’s 15th annual produce and floral expo.
Todd Linsky (left), vice president of organic sales for Grimmway Farms, Lamont, Calif., talks to Ray Mattern, vendor development manager for Loblaw, on Sept. 11 under the trade show tent in Newport, R.I., at the New England Produce Council’s 15th annual produce and floral expo.

NEWPORT, R.I. — The New England Produce Council experimented with a new venue and season for its 15th annual produce and floral expo.

Exhibitors and attendees applauded the changes for the Burlington, Mass.-based council’s Sept. 11 show, “NEPC by the Sea.”

The resort locale required putting the trade show exposition under large tents next to the Hyatt Regency and Narragansett Bay. There were 150 exhibitors. Some reported problems with insufficient cooling capacity, but nearly all said the it was a great place for the expo.

“We’re excited to be exhibiting our products in a magnificent setting,” said Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development for Southern Specialties, Pompano Beach, Fla.

Bill Brophy, NEPC board member and produce and floral sales manager for Stop & Shop, said the location and a New England-style clambake were well received.

In past years, the NEPC has had spring expos. Also, this year the expo was pushed later in the week, starting with meetings and the clambake on Wednesday, the expo on Thursday and golf or a mansion tour on Friday.

“We were pleased. We wanted to bring some excitement to the show, said Bob McGowan, president of the Burlington, Mass.-based NEPC and a partner in Wellesley, Mass.-based wholesaler Northeast Produce Sales.

He said you can always see a show inside of an convention hall, but this location was extraordinary, McGowan said.

The day before the expo, Cathy Burns, president of the Produce Marketing Association, talked about the big challenges facing the produce industry. They include changing production methods and addressing California’s drought and shifting consumer shopping patterns such as the change from larger stocking-up trips to more fill-in trips.