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Southern Exposure 2010: attendees will get a chance to interact with 200 exhibitors at this year's Southeast Produce Council event.

Most attendees of produce conventions expect to spend several days tromping back and forth trying to see 3,000 or so exhibits over the course of three or four days. For a change of pace, Southern Exposure 2010 offers an intimate convention with a variety of unique events.


At this convention, which is sponsored by the Southeast Produce Council (SPC), attendees will have just one day to explore the exhibits--but there will be only 200 exhibitors. "People attend our convention because it's a smaller show; people like that," says Terry Vorhees, SPC executive director, a Riverview, Fla.-based organization.

Southern Exposure, which begins on March 4, will be held at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Fla. Here's a preview of some of what they will find at this year's show.

Chelan Fresh

Marketing for more than 400 family growers, Chelan, Wash.-based Chelan Fresh is a shipper of premium Washington apples, pears, cherries, and stone fruit. Having just finished a big campaign with the 2010 USA Figure Skating Championships, the company continues to look at new and innovative ways to go to market with its products, according to Terry Braithwaite, director of marketing,


Del Monte Fresh Produce

Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A., Inc., based in Coral Gables, Fla., will feature its new Controlled Ripening Technology (CRT) packaging for 40-pound bulk banana boxes, single finger bananas and a fresh fruit and vegetable vending line at Southern Exposure, says Dionysios Christou, vice president marketing for Del Monte Fresh Produce. CRT 40-pound bulk banana packaging, targeted at traditional grocery and club/wholesale stores, was developed to address customers' need to better manage the ripening and handling process, reduce shrink and labor costs, have a better quality banana at store level, and help increase sales.


The Garlic Co.

The Garlic Co.'s retail sales manager Corinne Sabovich Pettit says the Bakersfield, Calif.-based company will be featuring its exclusive VakPak Peeled Garlic. This California garlic is mechanically peeled and vacuum sealed using proprietary equipment that produces clean, safe, flavorful garlic cloves, she says.


Growers Express

Several value-added packs have been added to the Growers Express line, according to Mishalin Modena, marketing manager for the Salinas, Calif.-based grower. Attendees will be able to see these, along with its produce line, at the SPC convention.


Green Giant Fresh chose Growers Express to exclusively license branded lettuces and mixed vegetables.

Grimmway Farms

Bakersfield, Calif.-based Grimmway Farms will be exhibiting a variety of carrot products, according to Lisa McNeece, vice president of foodservice sales. "We grow and process whole carrots, baby carrots and a wide variety of value-added products," she says. The company will also display its organic line.


The Idaho Potato Commission

The Idaho Potato Commission's booth at the SPC convention will feature fresh potatoes of all varieties, including the "famous Idaho Russet Burbank," says Seth Pemsler, vice president retail/international


The Eagle, Idaho-based commission will stress the fact that Idaho has the only branded potato in the market, says Pemsler. "Featuring and promoting Idaho potatoes affords retail grocers an opportunity to increase margin," he says.

Litehouse, Inc.

Paul Kusche, director of marketing for Sandpoint, Idaho-based Litehouse, Inc., says convention exhibitors will see the company's most innovative and exciting products at Southern Exposure: cream cheese dip and 20-ounce family-size squeezable dressing.


Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers

Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, a Wenatchee, Wash.-based grower, packer and marketer of tree fruits from the Great Northwest, will show off its cherries, apples and pears, according to Dan Wohlford, national sales representative.


"We are highlighting our Diamond Starr pears with new POS material,'" he says.

Phillips Mushroom Farms

"We will be showing our complete mushroom category, which includes white mushrooms from our new growing facility and a complete line of specialty mushrooms," says Kevin Donovan, national sales manager for Warwick, Md.-based Phillips Mushroom Farms. Phillips also handles wild, seasonal mushrooms from around the world.


Rainier Fruit Co.

Attendees can look forward to seeing Lady Alice, Honeycrisp and Grapple Brand apples as well as ripe D'Anjou pears from Selah, Wash.-based Rainier Fruit Co., according to Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing. Company representatives also will be highlighting the company's organic blueberry production.



A second-generation family farm headquartered in Bancroft, Wis., RPE is a grower/shipper of year-round potatoes and onions. "RPE, along with CSS Farms, Plover River Farms Alliance and Pro-Health have formed a joint venture called Tasteful Selections, LLC," says Randy Shell, RPE vice president of marketing. "Under the Tasteful Selections brand, the company will enter the marketplace with over a dozen premium potatoes."


Shuman Produce

Shuman Produce, a grower/shipper of sweet onions, will exhibit a full line of bulk and packaged sweet onions from its RealSweet brand of products, which includes Vidalia onions, sweet onions, Georgia red onions, and organic sweet onions.


John Shuman, president and director of sales for the Reidsville, Ga.-based company, says officials will stress to SPC convention visitors this message: "Through our grower partnerships and distribution centers, we provide a year-round supply of high-quality sweet onions from a single source."

Sweet Onion Trading Co.

Based in Melbourne, Fla., Sweet Onion Trading Co. will be exhibiting its Mexican Flat Sweet Onions. Shipment was expected to begin Feb. 20 and will continue until the Vidalia season starts, according to

CEO Barry Rogers


The Vidalia Onion Committee

The Vidalia, Ga.-based Vidalia Onion Committee will highlight many of its promotions at the SPC convention, including its agreement with DreamWorks to feature Shrek in its national marketing and on-product packaging next year.


"I have wanted for quite some time to figure out how to tie Vidalia onions to a cartoon character in hopes of grabbing kids' attention," says executive director Wendy Brannen.

Wayne E. Bailey Produce Co.

Chadbourn, N.C.-based Wayne E. Bailey Produce Co. will highlight its specialty items, including sweet potato fingerlings, fresh cut products, a steam-able bag of sweet potatoes, and individually wrapped microwavable sweet potatoes.


The growing category of sweet potatoes and value added-products will have their place as well as different varieties and specialty items," says George Wooten, president and owner.
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Title Annotation:FOCUS ON FRESH
Author:Amir, Nina
Publication:Grocery Headquarters
Date:Mar 1, 2010
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