Some of the distinctives of this year’s PMA include a record attendance (19,000 plus), a new visibility for Twitter and the continued elevation of traceability issues on the convention floor.

Though my Twitter account mysteriously disappeared from Twitter Fresh Summit searches, there was quite a bit of Twitter activity at the show. Special kudos to Sunkist, whose booth featured a “tweet wall” and a promotion linking donations to a charity for every new Twitter follower.  Here are a few tweets from the show hashtag #Freshsummit.

@dolesaladguide Today was a big day for me, and an even bigger day for DOLE. #freshsummit

@buffalonutskick great day at #freshsummit more chocolate strawberries and #buffalonuts tomorrow booth 2586

@oceanmistfarms Just ending our first day of #freshsummit Ocean Mist Farms served 2000 servings here on the show floor of a our famous artichoke risotto

@berrygiant I feel like I am at a convention in Chile. A lot of companies from Chile at #freshsummit.

@NancyF_PMA Closing up the #freshsummit Press Room for the night. We'll be open tomorrow at 7:30 am. Tonight, receptions!

@Sunkist will donate $1 (up to $5K) to the 3 charities for every new follower from Saturday-Monday. #freshsummit

@tckarst - #freshsummit packer editorial team

Props to Gary Fleming and PMA for its Produce Traceability Learning Center.  The area was in the far reaches of the exhibit floor, but featured a host of solution-based companies and also on-premise afternoon traceability workshops.  Sunday’s workshop featured Gary with Alan Newton, consultant to Duda and Michael Agostini of Wal-Mart. While the setting was less than ideal, the information value was off the chart.

In the afternoon workshops, Fleming didn’t flinch from asking the hard questions in getting the industry motivated to be in sync for the traceability timeline.  Still, the solutions are incredibly complex and there is no tidy “one size fits all” answer.  The fact that retailers may face even more expense and complexity in completing the PTI timeline may be of little comfort to grower shippers.

Someone remarked to me that it is curious that PMA ventured to the Disneyland home of Anaheim this year after last year’s Fresh Summit in the Disney World city of Orlando.  There is nothing wrong with Anaheim as a convention city, and the juxtaposition of Disneyland makes the conventional all the more attractive to families. And I even got the chance to see “It’s a small world” at Disneyland after a dinner at Club 33 last night.

Seeing more than 60 countries represented at the show makes the classic attraction’s lyrics all that much more apt:

it's a world of laughter,(traceability timeline: you’re joking, right?)  a world or tears (Gary Fleming, Wal Mart and other chains: No, not really )
its a world of hopes (a better economy tomorrow) , its a world of fear (what if we go south again?)
theres so much that we share (twitter hashtag for #Freshsummit)
that its time we're aware (
its a small world after all  (thanks PMA for making it smaller for the global produce industry)