The Friday educational field tours constitute a traditional part of the council’s convention.
The tours, scheduled for March 2, are set to take buses of retail and foodservice buyers to view importing and growing and shipping operations.
The first stop is Port Manatee, Fla., on the eastern shore of the Tampa Bay near Palmetto, Fla., to view the import operations of Coral Gables, Fla.-based Del Monte Fresh Produce NA Inc.
The two buses will take the groups to the Duette, Fla., growing and shipping operations of Plant City, Fla.-based Wish Farms. In Duette, participants are set to see strawberry harvesting and cooling as well as Wish Farms’ vegetable production.
The council plans to treat the group to a barbecue lunch that includes strawberry shortcakes for dessert during the Wish Farms visit, Vorhees said.
The two buses are scheduled to leave the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina conference hotel at 8 a.m. and return by no later than 3:15 p.m., Vorhees said.
Though the council included a stop at a Plant City-area strawberry growing and shipping operation in past tours, Vorhees said participants in postconference surveys told the council they wanted more exposure to eastern Hillsborough County’s many strawberry growers.
Many people haven’t visited a port either, Vorhees said. The port visit should also be informative in providing a first-hand view of what happens in the vessel unloading and product cooling process, he said.
Though the council maintains a participant waiting list, the tours remain sold out, Vorhees said.