Ha ha. Too many to count. For real.
I've enjoyed many iterations of the PMA and United Fresh conventions in the same way, through the sometimes weary eyes of a Packer reporter.
This year, as the expo was about to open, I was already flexing my sore back as I lugged my computer satchel in the exhibit hall. One produce veteran I know from way back admonished me. "You can't be tired now before the show starts; fake it if you have to!"
Advice received and followed.
From 1985, when the PMA was held in San Francisco, to this year, the most recent show in Anaheim - and most years in between - I have been there. That's a lot of avocado bags collected and business cards amassed.
Speaking of California avocados, I had the chance to enjoy a nice dinner at the ParkAve restaurant in Orange County with Jan DeLyser. Tom Bellamore, other CAC staff and several California avocado growers and buyers on Saturday night. That was very enjoyable and I heard the passion of all there for California avocados.
The PMA will continue to roll on, someday without me and perhaps even sans Bryan Silbermann. But not anytime soon on either count, most likely. And the PMA should always have avocado bags to distribute, we can hope.
Isn't it funny at a large expo when you see some people three or four times and you don't see others at all? I saw Tom O'Brien several times and as for the other 21,000 of you, I mostly didn't see you at all.
Several people I met said that they enjoy the friendly jabs and pokes I direct toward the Perishable Pundit, even though they are quick to say they like him a lot. I'll try to keep tweaking Jim in a less-than-serious way, with little hope or fear that he will poke back.
Jim's most recent edition (Oct. 25) contains a piece about misconceptions about local and organic food. Again, Jim farmed out the heavy lifting to Special Projects Editor Mira Slott. She did a nice job, quizzing a Professor Campbell about his research regarding U.S. and Canadian perceptions of local and organic produce. I'm waiting for the day when Jim conducts an investigation without the help of Mira Slott.
What did PMA attendees think of the Frans Johansson and his general session talk? I thought he was great. Innovation through diversity, etc. I will have to find his book, The Medici Effect.