I had the chance to chat on Oct. 5 with Pamela Riemenschneider, editor of Produce Retailer magazine.

10:40 a.m. Tom: Hi Pamela!

Pamela: Hi Tom!

Tom: What are you working on today for your magazine (and The Packer)?

10:41 a.m. Pamela: Today, I'm getting ready to go get some produce for our cover photo. I shoot most of the art that goes in the magazine nowadays. It's helpful to be a multitasker.

10:42 a.m. Tom: So I understand kumquats will bepart of the picture?

Pamela: Yes, they will. I think. It's a strange process because I never know what will look good until I have it all together. I am trying to find something small enough to fit, but that's still citrus. Kumquats it is!

10:43 a.m. Tom: Fun. Tell me about your magazine. How have you changed the focus from what you used to be Produce Merchandising to now PR?

10:44 a.m. Pamela: Produce Retailer just put out its sixth issue in October and I'm really pleased with how it has gone in the past six months. Our focus shifted from a store level approach, which was heavy on the merchandising side of things, to a total operations and category management focus.
10:45 a.m. What's helped is a partnership with The Perishables Group that provides us exclusive, in-depth research articles that we call our monthly Category Spotlight

10:47 a.m. Tom: And I'm sure you will get some good feedback on the magazine at the PMA show. It will be an extremely busy time. What would you like to accomplish for the magazine at the show?

10:48 a.m. Pamela: First of all, I'm going to be trolling the show floor for goodies to test in Pamela's Kitchen. I really enjoy that part of my job and love to see all the new products.
Then I'm looking for sources and ideas for our new floral sections. Yes. That's right. We're including floral.

10:49 a.m. Tom: I think the trade really enjoys those segments. I have heard from folks on the road about Pamela's Kitchen... They probably break out in a cold sweat when they see you coming... But you are quite nice and very fair minded, no?

10:50 a.m. Pamela: I try to be fair and talk about the good things that each product has, whether or not I'm a fan. And if it's downright horrible, it might get left on the cutting room floor.

10:51 a.m. Tom: Floral... how soon will that translate into pages in the magazine, do you think?

Pamela: It actually debuted in October. We have two stories in this issue and one online exclusive.
I also have something exciting for our online content.
10:52 a.m. I'm in the process of uploading every single merchandising photo we have in our files to a searchable database.
If you want to see what photos we have for "waterfall" displays, you'll be able to type that in and get them right away.

Tom: wow... with cutlines?
10:53 a.m. That will be valuable.

Not exactly cutlines, but every photo will be tagged according to the content in it.
Tomatoes, island displays, fresh-cut fruit, etc.
We have tens of thousands of photos so I've had quite a few late nights working on it.

10:55 a.m. Tom: That's a big effort. That and following the success of the University of Texas football program must keep you busy. Ha ha. Austin must be kind of dragging with UTs back to back losses...

 I'm very much a fair weather fan. I can at least be happy that my alma mater is undefeated. M-I-Z, Z-O-U!

10:57 a.m. Tom: As is mine. We digress, any other thoughts about the magazine or new wrinkles today? How can readers reach you if they need to?

11:02 a.m. Pamela: This has been a gradual process of transformation. We started with the new look and the new research focus. Then we introduced the price check feature, which is a look at retailer prices for selected items. This month's Price Check features sweet potato prices from across the country. And now we launched floral and we're reintroducing the merchandising galleries in an easier-to-use format. What's next? How about the 10-Minute Merchandiser series as training videos. I have lots more up my sleeves and I've only been at it six months.

11:03 a.m. Tom: Very cool. Thanks for the update and we'll keep watching the transformation. See you in Orlando!

Pamela: See ya, Tom!