The Maitland-based FFVA also awarded its merchandiser of the year honor to Save-A-Lot, St. Louis, a division of Supervalu Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn.
Adam Lytch, operations manager for Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc., nominated the chain for its promoting locally grown and Fresh from Florida products.
David Bryant, a buyer with Supervalu’s Lakeland office, accepted the award on behalf of Supervalu.
“I have worked in the field in Florida, and a lot of our retailers probably don’t realize the importance of each and every one of you here,” he told growers. “It is said the greatest reward is for the risk takers. I can’t think of any more of a risk taker than the grower. I know what it takes to grow the crops and I appreciate it.”
A benefit auction generated $28,000 for the Immokalee-based Redlands Christian Migrant Association, which cares for and educates farmworker children. Since 2003, the organization has generated more than $400,000 for the charity.
More than 300 people attended the convention, similar to last year’s meetings, said Mike Stuart, FFVA president.
FFVA members also elected Drew Duda, senior vice president of Oviedo-based A. Duda & Sons Inc.’s Duda Ranches, which includes Duda citrus, sod, sugarcane and cattle operations, as its 2010-12 chairman and Keith Mixon, president and chief executive officer of SunnyRidge Farm Inc., Winter Haven, as its vice chairman.