The New York Produce Show & Conference “The Relaunch”- 2021

BY: Liliana Rocio, Senior Editor for World Liberty TV

The Eastern Produce Council and PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine present an exciting world-class event for the industry.

Guests at Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The four-day event includes networking opportunities, a one-day trade show of over 400 companies, retail “thought-leader” breakfast panel hosted by Perishable Pundit Jim Prevor, educational micro-sessions and tours of the region’s vibrant industry, including local retailers, wholesalers, foodservice distributors, urban farms and unique eateries.

Thousands of people in attendance

The program also includes an outreach to students and faculty at regional universities as well as distinguished culinary schools, plus the “Connect with Fresh” media immersion, luncheon and show tour involving influential bloggers, consumer editors and those working with all forms of social media.

Dr Abbey with Jim Prevor Organizer of NY Produce Show

In addition to the 1-day Trade Show are three co-located conferences for those wishing to expand and enhance their visit to our one-of-a-kind produce industry experience.

Monday, the Foundational Excellence program – with Cornell professors offering one day of industry trends and take-aways for executives with less than 5 years in produce.

Dan L. Whitacre Doing the Morning Prayer.

Tuesday, the Global Trade Symposium offers attendees the latest insights on produce importing and exporting to and from the Northeast Region.

Halls of Philadelphia Produce Market

Wednesday, our 1-day Trade Show and Exposition, featuring ‘Perishable Pundit’ Jim Prevor’s Keynote Breakfast and Thought Leaders Panel, show floor educational Micro-Sessions, Chef’s Demonstrations, the Connect with Fresh Media Immersion, and an exciting day in NYC for our Spouse and Companion Program participants.

Dr Abbey with Susan McAleavey Sarlund Exec Dir EPC

Thursday, the “Ideation Fresh” Foodservice Forum covers the role of produce in culinary innovation and foodservice profitability.

Many Vendors at Philadelphia Produce Market

Following Bus tours took place: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm Manhattan Retailers, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm, New Jersey Retailers, AeroFarms Tour, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm Brooklyn Retailers & Urban Agriculture, 8:00 am – 1:00 pm Hunts Point Market, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Philadelphia Produce Market & Wegmans. We at World Liberty have done all the tours since attending the New Produce show since it started 11 years ago. Our team went to Philadelphia Produce Market and Wegmans.

Dr Abbey with John Vena President JVI Specialty Produce

On Wednesday Myra Gordon, who worked at the Hunters Point Market for 35 years. Was honored with the lifetime Achievement Proclamation from The New York Governor’s Office Kathy Hochul for her 35 years of service in the produce sector and being a pioneering woman and opening many doors for woman who are working in the Produce Sector.

Dr Abbey with Honoree Myrna Gordon & Leslie Gordon of Food Bank NYC

A little about Myra Gordon: “I originally started working part-time at the Hunts Point Market in 1986,” she shared with The Produce News. Her youngest daughter at the time was still at home, and she noted how important it was for her to balance her work and family life while raising kids. In 1988, Gordon began working full-time at the market, and hasn’t looked back since.

Dr Abbey with Amber Maloney of Wish Farms

“I was never a clock-watcher,” she said. “I paid no attention to hours. I got done what I needed to get done. It was a labor of love.”

Student Chefs in attendance

“It was a pleasure to be able to step up to the plate,” she shared. “I miss my staff. I worked very closely with those men and women for many years. I really appreciated the help they gave me.” As executive director of the market, Gordon had her “fingers in everything,” she said. “The work just sort of grew exponentially as different things came up.”

Dr Abbey with Guests at Philadelphia Produce Market

Gordon had a background in public relations, which she quickly put to use at the Hunts Point Produce Market. She recalled organizing a give-back event for Thanksgiving. “It came to me and I ran with it,” she said. “The lines were huge. We packed 2,000 bags with enough food to feed a family of four for Thanksgiving.”

Dr Abbey Showing the layout of the Philly Market

Although Gordon’s time at Hunts Point has come to an end, don’t think that means her work in the produce industry is over — far from it. Gordon plans to continue her legacy by helping with the New York Produce Show and Conference.

As her mantra goes: “When a task has once begun, never leave it until it’s done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.”

Dr Abbey with Joel A. Fierman President Fierman Produce Exchange Inc

Marianne Santo, President of Eastern Produce Council and senior Category Manager for Produce and Floral , Wakefern Food Corporation, went on to say, we all woman stand on the shoulders of Myra Gordon, who opened many doors for woman like me and many more, and I want to thank her for this, if it was not for her I would not be standing here, today.

Dr.Abbey with Freshcourt Team Members

Congratulations to Myra Gordon, for her contribution to the Produce market for the past 35 years, and she is not finished yet as she is working with NY Produce Show, as a special advisor. We at World liberty TV, have known Myra Gordon for over 11 years and look forward to seeing her and showcasing her good work throughout our World Liberty TV, Food Channels for many years to come.

LUV Avocados

Jim Prevor President and Editor in Chief of Produce Business, conducted “The Perishable Pundit “Thought Leader” Panel. Which included the following people from the produce business who travelled throughout the USA, South America and Europe to be part of the panel.

Dr Abbey with Phillip Grant CEO Hunts Point Produce Market

The Following participated: Jeff Cady, Director of Produce and Floral Top Markets, Rich Dachman, Chief Executive Officer , Brighter Bites, Kelly Davis, Director of Produce and Floral for Allegiance Retail services, Robin Fisher, Category Manager  PF, Chang’s Bistro, Marc Goldman, Produce Director, Morton Williams Supermarkets, Jim Hancock , Vice President DMM, Produce and Floral , Sam’s Club, Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS,RDN, President and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation, Stefanie katzman, Executive Vice President , S. Katzman Produce, Chris Keetch, Director, Produce and Floral, The Giant Company, Mary Mitchell, Vegetable Merchant, Fresh Direct, Tony Mitchell, Vice President of Corporate Produce, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Michael Muzyk, President Baldor, Julie Olivarria, Vice President of Produce, Sysco, Marianne Santo, President of Eastern Produce Council and Senior Category Manger Produce and Floral Wakefern Food Corporation, Victor Savanello, Vice President, Produce and Floral Merchandising, SpartanNash, Jay Schnieder, Head of Buying/Marketplace  US Gorillas, Caitlin Tierney, Senior Director of Produce Innovation, Sprouts Farmers Market, Steve Tursi, Produce Procurement, Grocery Outlet and Tim York, CEO, California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement.

Fresh Court Staff Members at NY Produce Show

This was a great panel, all topics were discussed by the above produce professionals, from Logistics, doing business during COVID-19 Pandemic, retaining employees and hiring new and many more topics.

Wednesday at the Connect with Fresh Media Lunch during the New York Produce Show, handled by  Jodean Robbins Duarte, Coordinator, NYPS Media & Consumer Influencer Lunch, Contributing Editor, Produce Business magazine. The Following company’s made a presentation: Ms.Amber Maloney of Wish Farms, talked about Pine Berries, The Wish Farms’ “Pink-A-Boo” pineberry is crisp, with a hint of tropical citrus flavor. The eating experience is similar to the classic strawberry flavor you know and love but with refreshing hints of pineapple bursting through the berry. Not to mention, the pineberry distinguishes itself from other berries with its blush pink and vibrant white coloring with red seeds on the outside.

M. Levin & Co Original Fruit & Vegetable cart

We also had a pleasure of speaking with Gary Wishnatzki, Founder and head Pixie of WishFarms and 4th Generation family member, he went on to say, Pine Berries will be a great hit throughout the USA, and eventually throughout the World.

Dr Abbey with Gary Wishnatzki CEO & Head Pixie Wish Farms

Next presentation was by Arturo Mendoza, Global Vice President of Sales for FreshCourt Company based in Mexico, he talked about many new products they have created with Avocados, Jams, Guacamole dips, Mr. Mendoza went on to say, At Freshcourt we know that the only one constant in this world is change, this is why our R & D department is constantly searching for new ingredients, packaging and new technologies that allow us to give our customers new and better culinary experiences.

Conor Chilvers of Nature Fresh Farms

I tried the Avocado jam, on my toast earlier today and it was delicious and very healthy, I look forward to buying that on a regular basis, I am a huge Avocado lover, and it’s one of my favorite fruits.

On Thursday, we did our Bus Tour to Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, which was our 2nd tour to the market Mr. John Vena, President of JVI Specialty Produce , talked about the how Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, was the state of the art facility, he also shared his thoughts how the pandemic had effected his business and how it was important to maintain the staff members who have worked for many years, he also went on to say that it is very hard to find new talent in the produce business, he has been in business since 1919. There were 19 more families doing business at the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market. Business is doing well he went on to say most of the east coast will have a fruit or vegetable they are eating coming from Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market.

Mark Masten CEO Joolies Dates

It truly is a great produce market every time I attend with my team; we are always impressed seeing different things, We want to thank the following for their help, Mark Smith, General Manager for Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market and Christine Hoffman, Publicist.

Marianne Santo President EPC Board with her officers

After that we stopped by at  Wegman’s  in Cherry Hill, New Jersey a state of the art Supermarket, selling a lot of produce bought by local farmers, the space is very well utilized, it was very clean and products of all kinds were very easy to find.

Ken Whitacre Co-Organizer of Event

We want to congratulate Mr Jim Prevor, and Ken Whitacre in conjunction with the Eastern Produce Council, for bringing everyone together in person, alongside their staff members who did a wonderful job of putting on a Show and  Expo on this magnitude.

R-L Brad Ryan Sales Manager Mariani Nuts with Co-Workers

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