ANAHEIM, Calif. – The La Mirada, Calif.-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council honored another produce organization rather than an individual with its annual Norman H. “Buz” Bolstad Award this year.
Alex Sanchez (left), buyer/produce manager for Moore’s Markets Inc., Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., checks out some Popeye brand baby spinach with Mark Haun, regional business manager for Salinas, Calif.-based River Ranch Fresh Foods LLC.
The Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association received this year’s award during the keynote breakfast that kicked off the council’s Southern California Fresh Produce & Floral Expo at the Disneyland Hotel July 20.
Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and chief executive officer, was on hand to accept the award, which is named in honor of one of the founders of the FPFC and recognizes distinguished voluntary leadership within the organization and the produce industry.
About 1,200 primarily store-level produce and floral workers attended this year’s expo, and 215 companies exhibited produce- and floral-related products at 164 booths, said expo chairman Brian Cook, key account sales representative at San Miguel Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif.
The event is a great opportunity for produce employees to gather insight into their industry, Cook said.
“The FPFC Expo is a great venue for retailers of all levels and foodservice operators to come out and meet and greet with all their suppliers and to get educated about on some of these items that they may not know too much about, and how (they’re) grown,” he said.
Again this year, a floral design competition and a Produce 101 contest to see who could identify the greatest number of unique produce commodities were expo highlights.
Enrique Meza, produce clerk at a Vons store in Glendale, Calif., was this year’s Produce 101 winner.
United Fresh was chosen to receive this year’s produce award because the organization reflects ideals that were dear to Bolstad — increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, making them available to everyone and getting children to consume produce at a young age to ensure an ongoing flow of consumers, said Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the Irvine-based California Avocado Commission and chairwoman of the award’s nominating committee.