Inside the 2017 Viva Fresh Produce Expo with Jonad Galan, Tommy Wilkins, and Jimmy Bassetti

Inside the 2017 Viva Fresh Produce Expo with Jonad Galan, Tommy Wilkins, and Jimmy Bassetti



AUSTIN, TX - The Lone Star State is really coming to feel like a home to the produce industry, and the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA)’s third year of Viva Fresh Expo is only adding to that notion. With the alluring charm of Austin to boost a successful third year, Viva Fresh 2017 is not one I’ll soon forget.

With an intimate feel and the region's charm wrapped around each event over the weekend, Viva Fresh is really coming into its own as it hosts an exclusive tie to the Texas retail scene.

Tommy Wilkins, Director of Sales, Grow Farms Texas

“What a wonderful team effort these past few days,” Tommy Wilkins of Grow Farms Texas, tells me of the show’s success. “I see a beautiful evolution of relationships and partnerships being developed for the great state of Texas, and production crossing through Texas. I want to thank Bret for all he has done and look forward to Dante’s leadership taking this toward even a better Expo.”

Kicking off on Thursday, April 20, with the annually anticipated golf tournament, produce members got a taste of beautiful Austin weather to rile them up for the whirlwind events ahead.

And Friday’s day filled with sessions of inspiration and innovation did not disappoint; including a glimpse into the effect that technology can have on marketing and brand success by ANUK’s own Whit Grebitus

Jonad Galan, Director of Produce and Floral, Balls Food Stores

“The show was very well organized, speakers and sessions were exceptional. The details on marketing and The Tipping Point are very relevant not only for delivering information to customers but also to our team,” says Jonad Galan of Balls Foods. “Know Your GMOs was excellent and challenges firm GMO believers to seek information and real data to make their own decisions on GMOs. The show floor was well laid out and not too big, allowing quality time at the booths rather than the traditional rush through from larger shows. One of the biggest takeaways was the NAFTA session; as a retailer we really must keep current and well informed on any changes that can arise from this negotiation, changes in NAFTA can alter and change procurement practices of today.”

Dr. David Katz returned to head the sessions as Keynote Speaker, joined by his wife Catherine Katz, Ph.D., to lead a riveting lunch session–and carefully crafted menu–on the impact of “loving food that loves you back.” An inventive Virtual Field Tour of Red Sun Farms followed. 

Through the duration of the weekend, to the show floor and beyond, attendees were praising the infectious nature of the sessions, and how their lasting impressions could be carried through Viva Fresh back home.

Jimmy Bassetti, President, J&D Produce

“Great Expo, great content, great attendance, great networking, great city, and great feedback! Viva 2018 in San Antonio will be greater yet,” says Jimmy Bassetti of J&D Produce of this year's event, and what's to come with the next. 

With that, came the official ribbon cutting as Viva Fresh 2017 entered its stride, and let produce members really capitalize on the fun spirit of Austin and the connectivity that the event boasts each year.

Watching industry members mix, mingle, and confer the next morning on the show floor, it was truly clear how much value the industry places on not only the Texas retail market, but on the spirit of a Texas-based show itself.

As the event honors the legacy of Bret Erickson as he steps down as President and CEO, and Dante Galeazzi stepping up to the plate, I can’t wait to see what Texas treasures Viva Fresh brings to us next. To 2018!

Viva Fresh



Companies in this Story


Texas International Produce Association

The Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) was created in 1942 by a group of industry leaders who shared a vision...