Last week I attended PMA’s Fresh Summit, a gathering of marketers, growers and buyers from around the produce and fresh flower world. I went to Fresh Summit as part of a team of bloggers, brought together by Casey of Kitchen Play, who covered PMA with All-Access passes through various social media channels. Check out our hashtag #TeamFreshSummit on Twitter if you’d like to see what kind of social media action we brought to the event, the numbers are pretty amazing.

 

–disclaimer–I received compensation for being part of #TeamFreshSummit but as usual my thoughts, opinions and views are entirely my own.

I flew in Thursday night and woke to a gorgeous sunny Friday morning, I didn’t have my convention pass yet so I headed out early to catch an expo bus, get my pass all sorted out, find a cup of coffee and settle on my sessions for the day. As luck would have it I met most of the rest of the team waiting for the same bus, and we all hit it off wonderfully, they’re all truly kind, friendly people, which is so refreshing these days, sometimes you never know WHAT to expect. I got everything squared away and sailed right on into the sessions, I think it’s a great idea to hold all the educational session on one day and only open the expo floor the next two days, it made making time for everything a lot easier. 

Our fearless leader Casey was a judge for The Sensory Experience Contest, so #TeamFreshSummit got to head in early, check out the food and watch the winners being announced. Chef Mickey even made an appearance, I was totally unprepared and didn’t get a picture but it made the entire room gasp and then cheer. After the winners were announced of all ten recipes were available for tasting, so much good AND healthy food in one room shouldn’t be legal. You can find all the recipes from the sensory contest in one place, I highly recommend the Mushroom Sauce Pizza, it was tasty.

Saturday and Sunday were spent mainly on the expo floor, there were so many vendors to meet and network with I felt pretty grateful that we had a scavenger hunt to find some of our sponsor’s booths, it gave me a chance to wander without any pressure and kind of get the lay of the land. 

This is just a quick shot of sort of the main middle thoroughfare down the center of expo–you can see the 2400 here and each row back to the wall decreased by 100, so it was 24 rows back to the beginning.

And those rows continue on up until I believe the 4200s. That’s just the breadth of it we’re not talking how wide it was. Massive is such a good word to use here. Massive. 

Our first stop was Gourmet Garden 

who many of you may recognize from their herb pastes but they have a new product(on the left) coming out called Lightly Dried, which are partially dried ingredients such as ginger or cilantro that plump right back up when added to water or to whatever you’re cooking. If you can find them give them a try.

 The National Watermelon Board was a great place to pop in and see what’s happening in the world of watermelon. What’s happening is this   

  

 how fun would it be to make something like that for Halloween this year? 

I got to try the brand new, non gmo, nutrient dense Burgandy Romaine lettuce from Nutraleaf Coastline Family Farms, lettuce in a smoothie? YOU BET! Seriously good and good for you never looked so beautiful, eh? 

I finally found HBF International and was rewarded with Kiwi Berries, a small hairless relative of the Kiwi fruit. They are about the size of a grape but so flavorful and easy to eat, I like them a lot, I think my kids will too. 

Duda Farms Dandy Fresh Cut Ready Radishes, YES PLEASE! I love radishes, they probably tie with turnips and carrots as my favorite fresh raw veggies for snacking. We tried them on Tombo Tuna Tacos, so tasty!

Mucci Farm’s beautiful produce, so lovely in winter (which is coming soon!). The Mucci booth was probably the most beautiful serene booth in the entire expo, it just felt, upscale. 

 

Figs from Blue Ribbon Orchards and Sun-Maid Figs

I was given a jar of fig spread which has turned out to be a HUGE hit at our house especially when used as a glaze on stuffed apples. Look at all the Sun-Maid products!

The whole experience top to bottom was completely beyond anything I ever expected. From Casey who pulled us together, to the super friendly team, the sponsors and the generally kind, motivating attitude during the entire convention, every single bit of it was better that I EVER thought it would be. 

#TeamFreshSummit 2014 is 

Casey-our intrepid leader

Jason-Modernist Cooking Made Easy

Christina-Teenie Cakes

Suki-SuperDuperFantastic

Lori-Fake Food Free 

Mimi Avocado

Heather-Real: The Kitchen and Beyond

Rachel-Trampling Rose 

Megan-Stetted

Beth-OMG Yummy

Cathy-Noble Pig 

Carly-Ever Clever Mother

I’d like to thank our sponsors

Gourmet Garden

HBF International

The Watermelon Board

Nutraleaf

Blue Ribbon Orchard Figs and Sun-Maid Figs

Duda Dandy Fresh

Mucci Farms