A Traveling Man

The past two months found me in Palm Springs, Calif., for United FreshTech and Chicago for United Fresh Marketplace. The two shows were as different as night and day, but both were extremely beneficial in their own way.

At FreshTech, I was able to sit in on many great education sessions, with noted speakers presenting the latest research and information on timely topics like E. coli O157:H7 and new packaging materials. The expo portion of the show was laid back, with large pieces of processing equipment taking floor space. I had the chance to speak with many of our readers, and quite a few stopped by the Fresh Cut booth to sign up for a chance to win an iPod.

Fresh Marketplace was at first overwhelming, with two levels of Chicago’s McCormick Place dedicated to the combined FMI, All Things Organic, Fancy Foods and Fresh Marketplace. People from all parts of the food industry were at the show, from chefs to retail buyers. There excitement in the air, especially in the organic show. More than 650 organic exhibitors took part, many of them small companies just getting into the business. Everything from organic baby food to clothing was on display – including a few fresh-cut processors showing off new organic products.

United Fresh Produce Association did an excellent job coordinating the two shows, held less than a year after the merger of United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and International Fresh-cut Produce Association. The staff at United had little time at home between the two shows, and I hope they got some much needed rest after Fresh Marketplace.

The 2008 shows will be held jointly in Las Vegas. This should be great opportunity for all segments of the industry to come together under one roof. On one side of the show floor will be the FreshTech section, with processors and food safety products, and on the other side will be produce marketers. If this year’s shows are any indication, the Las Vegas shows should be a great opportunity for processors, retailers and suppliers alike.

Fresh Cut will be in Las Vegas in 2008, and I hope you’re already making plans to attend the show. I’d like to know what you thought of the show, and if you’re going to be in Las Vegas. Please feel free to drop me any comments about the 2007 or 2008 shows. I can be reached at [email protected].

In this issue of Fresh Cut, you’ll find reports on some of the topics from FreshTech and Fresh Marketplace educational sessions. You’ll also find a feature story on B&P Packing, a California processor who has fought the city over sewer rights for more than two years. As cities grow into farmland and closer to processing facilities, there is a great load on the sewer system, so this could be an issue in any city experiencing growth.

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