Doug OhlemeierScott Wilson (from left), president of Wilson Farms Inc., Lexington, Mass., talks with Kenneth Todd, category manager of Salisbury, N.C.-based Delhaize USA, and Eric Lemos, Delhaize’s commodity specialist, on the trade show floor at the New England Produce Council’s Produce and Floral Expo on April 25 The show drew high numbers of retail buyers.FOXBORO, Mass. — Meeting at a National Football League stadium, large groups of retailers visited booths at the New England Produce Council’s Produce and Floral Expo.
In its 13th year, the April 25 show, dubbed “The Produce Bowl,” attracted buyers and exhibitors to Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots.
“We have a good representation of retailers,” said council board member and exhibitor Bruce Klein, marketing manager of Secaucus N.J.-based Maurice A. Auerbach Inc. “We have seen a lot of retailers in this unique venue.”
Exhibitor John Shuman, president of Shuman Produce Inc., Reidsville, Ga., which sponsored a pre-show reception April 24, said buyer turnout was strong.
“We have good retailer participation and are seeing a lot of retailers,” he said. “This stadium is a great venue and a good draw.”
Council executive director Laura Sullivan said attendance was similar to the 750 that attended the 2011 show.
A record 240 companies exhibited, 10 more than in 2011.
During the April 25 keynote breakfast, council president Robert McGowan, director of produce of Foxboro-based Advantage New England, said the organization contributed a salad bar to East Boston High School.
McGowan said the council plans to donate a salad bar every year to a school in New England states. The program is part of an initiative supported by the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, and first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program.
“We continue our mission to promote consumption,” McGowan said. “We like to say we give back to our schools.”
In the expo booth contests, Sid Wainer & Son, New Bedford, placed first in the best single booth division; Bozzuto’s Inc., Cheshire, Conn., won honorable mention. In the multiple booths division, Wilson Farms Inc., Lexington, won first place and Tourtellot & Co. Inc., Warwick, R.I., took honorable mention.
The April 24 pre-show festivities included a reception, tours of the stadium and football memorabilia in the team’s hall of fame museum and a field goal kicking contest on the field.
Next year’s show is scheduled for April 3 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.