PMA Foodservice Attendees Discuss Their Experiences at Last Weekend's Conference
MONTEREY, CA - Over 1,700 produce and foodservice professionals attended this past weekend's record breaking PMA Foodservice Conference and attendees are aleady raving about the experience they had at the event. Check out the PMAtv episode at the top of this page or by clicking here to learn more about this event and the produce stars making it happen.
According to a press release, this year's conference had 1,821 attendees from North and South America, 203 operators, 164 exhibit booths, 389 joggers for PMA Foodservices's annual 5K run, and 60 Field and Plant tours for industry professionals. These numbers are all new all-time records for the conference which has now been running for 33 years.
“A record-breaking show like this highlights the value of the ongoing collaboration between the fresh produce and foodservice industry. The energy and networking that occurred throughout the weekend was palpable,” said PMA President Cathy Burns.
The conference was held in beautiful Monterey, California, a location which Jill Overdorf, Director of Business and Culinary Development for Coosemans Shipping of L.A. as well as PMA Foodservice Conference Committee Co-Chair, called perfect for the event.
"We have an opportunity to meet in the salad bowl of America," she said.
So much goes on during the PMA Foodservice Conference that in talking to attendees, we heard a wide range of responses to the question 'what are you looking forward to most this weekend.'
- PMA President Cathy Burns said, "...what I'm most excited about is the expo. The opportunity to see the growers, the shippers, the distributors...[everyone] all through the supply chain, taking innovation and bringing it to life in a partnership that will ultimately impact the consumer."
- For Jill, the highlights were "the Career Pathways Program...[and] The Women's Fresh Perspectives Reception. I can't think of a better room to be in on Saturday night than in a room with 100 amazing bright women who represent our industry so well."
- Executive Vice President of Field Fresh Foods and PMA Conference Committee Co-Chair Fritz Stelter said that "My favorite part of the conference is having the Salinas growers within reach and having the foodservice distributors attend the conference. As a processor that puts us squarly in the middle between these two industries...and helps us maximize our experience at the conference."
Other highlights from the event included Friday morning's Joe Nucci Memorial Golf Tournament in which 100 industry professionals gathered together to honor the belevoed Salinas produce leader. That same morning, 60 other industry members had the opportunity to attend a field and plant tour of Ocean Mist, Braga Fresh Family Farms, and Naturipe's produce operations. Artichokes, berries, and leafy greens were reportedly centerstage throughout the day.
Conference attendees also had the opportunity to attend a variety of educational talks on a wide range of industry topics such as food safety, big data, social responsibility, and global flavor trends.
Every year PMA Foodservice hands out a varity of awards and honors to its participants. According to a press release this years winners were:
- Best in Show: Ruby Fresh
- 2nd Place, Best of Show: Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers
- Best New Product Launch: Misionero Vegetables for its EarthGreens Lemony Organic Blends
- Sensory Experience Contest: Chilean Fresh Fruit Association for its Chilean grape, bacon and brie melt with Chilean fruit medley gazpacho
- Top male finisher of the PMA Foundation for Industry Talent 5K run: Philip Higgins, Markon Cooperative – 18:51
- Top female finisher: Stephanie Cancellieri, Veg Fresh – 20:10
- Team spirit and largest team to register with 53 runners: Robinson Fresh
- Best team attire: Tanimura & Antle
- Joe Nucci Memorial Golf Tournament, First place: Anthony D'Amico, Kevin Delaney, Anthony Valdez, Rick Jordan
- Second place: Brian Jenny, Dwight Ferguson, Jason Fischer, Dave Adams
- Third place: Mitch DiMarco, Louis Hymel, Bill Munger, Erik Winge
- Longest drive contest: Anthony Valdez and Sylvie Savoy Run
- Closest to the pin contest: Brian Jenny
Congratulations on a great weekend PMA Foodservice!
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