Participants stress value of organic conference

06/19/2009 01:10:00 PM
Dan Galbraith

CHICAGO — Fresh produce company officials manning booths and retailers walking the show floor agreed June 17-18 that less isn’t necessarily worse for the annual All Things Organic Conference and Trade Show at McCormick Place.

While show officials and others admitted show traffic wasn’t all they had hoped for, the show offered many opportunities.

“I come here every year, and I always come back with five new ideas I’d like to pursue,” said Ruth Ferree, produce manager for Bloomingfoods Cooperative Services Inc., Bloomington, Ind. “I have noticed the show is scaled back more and more, which is a little discouraging. I was also a little disappointed there weren’t more local-grown items here, and it was a little bit more difficult to get away during the middle of the week.”

Always on the lookout for new organic products and merchandising tips, Ferree said the show provided plenty of that. Among others, she talked with Mastronardi Produce Ltd.’s marketing manager Chris Veillon about the Kingsville, Ontario company’s new package offerings.

Todd Smith, salesman for Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo Inc., Santa Cruz, Calif., who was exhibiting at the show, said dwindling show traffic didn’t upset him.

                                                                            Dan Galbraith

Chef Domenica Catelli (right), author and 2008 spokeswoman for Go Organic! Earth Day, showed Wilma Phend, owner of Wilma’s Health Care & Food Shop, Churnbusco, Ind., the proper way to chop Swiss chard while creating a recipe using fresh produce June 17 at the All Things Organic show in Chicago.

“The size of the show was a little smaller than expected, but it was nice having the fresh produce companies consolidated into one area, which draws the right kind of people we want at our booth,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to extend our customer service beyond our sales office.”


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