This year’s New York Produce Show will feature a number of educational sessions and retail tours.

The show is also attracting increased interest from chefs and students considering entering the industry.

In a Dec. 10 global trade symposium, participants can learn about New York’s role in world produce shipments by attending “Produce Import/Export: A View from America’s Gateway to the World.”

On Dec. 11, before the start of the expo at Pier 94 on 54th Street and West Side Highway, a keynote breakfast includes a retail panel featuring vice presidents from leading Northeastern retail chains.

The session includes an expanded panel of buyers, said Eastern Produce Council president Paul Kneeland, vice president of produce and floral, seafood and meat for the Parsippany, N.J.-based Kings Super Markets LLC.

The panelists:


  • Kneeland;
  • Eric Beelitz, Montvale, N.J.-based The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.;
  • Marc Goldman, Morton Williams Supermarkets, New York;
  • Derrick Jenkins, Wakefern Food Corp., Keasbey, N.J.;
  • Vic Savanello, Allegiance Retail Services LLC, Iselin, N.J.;
  • Eric Stone, FreshDirect Inc., Long Island City, N.Y.;
  • Steve Wright, Tops Markets LLC, Williamsville, N.Y.; and
  • Tony Mirack of McCaffrey’s Markets, Langhorne, Pa.


Chef demonstrations are also scheduled for the day as well as other educational sessions.

On Dec. 12, buses are scheduled to take visitors on five daylong tours of retail operations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey as well as to the Hunts Point Terminal Market and Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market.

The Brooklyn itinerary includes a tour of an urban agricultural operation while the New Jersey retail tour features a visit to a tofu manufacturing plant as well as a visit to a newly branded Kings store in Gillette, N.J., Kneeland said.

The bus traveling to the Philadelphia market also plans to visit a Wegmans Food Markets store, he said.

New this year, a retailer from China is expected to participate in the show and join a representative from the United Kingdom’s Marks & Spencers chain, Kneeland said.

Also scheduled for that day is Ideation Fresh, a foodservice forum featuring some leading Northeastern chefs.

“The global symposium is certainly a draw to people outside of this country, but also to those here that want to do business globally,” Kneeland said.

“The foodservice symposium is also very strong. It attracts students from the Culinary Institute of America and the French Culinary Institute of America. The forums have really been a huge enhancement for us. We feel this show is very strong as it’s attracting people from all over the world.”

Additionally, students from eight leading Northeastern universities are planning to participate in the show, more than last year, said John McAleavey, the Short Hills, N.J.-based council’s executive director.

The students plan to walk the show floor with a council director and meet with different produce companies, he said.

Kneeland said the two student programs, which cover the produce and culinary industries, provide opportunities for young people to interact with industry leaders during the convention’s panels.

The programs also offer guidance on produce industry careers.

“They learn the industry’s not very small like a lot of people see it from the retail side,” he said.

“By seeing how large this industry really is, these students gain a lot of knowledge and see how they can really find their niche in it.”

Convention organizers are also scheduling a spouse/companion program.

The event allows participants to spend more time with their families enjoying New York during the holiday season, Kneeland said.