Despite hassle, plenty in Big Apple - The Packer

Despite hassle, plenty in Big Apple

12/13/2013 11:43:00 AM
Fred Wilkinson

NEW YORK — Despite cancelled flights complicating travel in many parts of the U.S. in early December, the produce industry proved it loves New York.

Fred WilkinsonKevin Barry (left), director of produce and floral for Big Y Foods Inc., Springfield, Mass., and Kevin Donovan, national sales manager for Phillips Mushroom Farms, Kennett Square, Pa., catch up Dec. 11 on the expo floor at the New York Produce Show & Conference. The New York Produce Show & Conference — entering its fourth year and running Dec. 10-12 — drew more than 3,000 attendees to check out what nearly 400 exhibitors had to offer Dec. 11 on the exposition floor at the Pier 92 exhibit hall on Manhattan’s Westside, said John McAleavey, executive director of event co-sponsor Eastern Produce Council, Short Hills, N.J.

Attendees generally praised the show for its mix of buyers and suppliers, and in particular for the look into the region’s diverse retail scene that the event provides.

“There’s a pretty good turnout — lots of retailers,” said Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing for Rainier Fruit, Selah. Wash. “It’s nice to connect with people and get feedback.”

Shannon Barthel, marketing director for first-time exhibitor Central American Produce Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., said they were pleased with the turnout and contacts they made at the show.

“I think we’ll be back next year,” she said.

Kerry Herndon — president and CEO of Kerry’s Kitchen Gardens, another first-time exhibitor — said the expo was a good introduction to another segment of marketplace he has some familiarity with.

His company is a longtime supplier of ornamental plants, and he previously has been involved in Produce Marketing Association events as a floral marketer, he said.

But as his company prepares to enter the fresh herbs and microgreens market out of a new operation in Apopka, Fla., he said the New York Show provided him some good contacts on the produce side of the produce and floral segment.

In addition to the trade show, there was a global trade symposium on Dec. 10 and retail and market tours Dec. 12.

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