LAKE TAHOE, NV -- The National Watermelon Association kicked off its 103rd annual convention at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe in Incline Village, NV, drawing 400-plus attendees, who braved abundant snowfall and whiteout conditions to make it here. Bob Morrissey, executive director of NWA, said it is the biggest turnout ever for a convention west of Texas.
John Lapide of Melon 1 and Art Perry of George Perry & Sons.
Rick Overholt and Dan Dearolph of Chep with Cory Dombrowski of Sakata Seed.
Jennifer and Chris Hogg of Champion Seed with John Reese of Giumarra Cos.
Pablo Borquez of Borquez Schwarzbeck, Arthur Saikhon of Saikhon Co. and Steve Poindexter of Produce Pay Inc.
David Genecco of Genecco Farms and Greg Long of McMelon.
Jennifer Gardikas-Caeser of D. Gardikas Produce Co. with Brent and Susan Harrison of Ag Solutions LLC.
Dan Van Groningen and Cesar Martinez of Van Groningen & Sons.
Art Perry of George Perry & Sons with Bob Morrissey, executive director of NWA.
Hammy Dicks of Melon 1 and Shaun Leiker of Allen Lund Co.
Mike Meyer of Keith Connell Inc. and Harry Vaughn of Gulf Seed.
Katey Evans of Evans Farms, Kevin Evans of the Mar-Del Watermelon Association and Kelli Wilder of the National Watermelon Association.
Tom Glenos of Kids Choice with Nate and Terri Stone of Ben B. Schwartz.
Stephanie Barlow and Mark and Karen Arney of the National Watermelon Promotion Board.
Carla Penny (right), the 2016 National Watermelon Queen, with seven regional watermelon queens vying for the 2017 National Watermelon Queen title.
The SpartanNash Jungle of Savings Midwest Spring Expo drew 170 exhibitors and more than 1,000 attendees from across the United States to the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis Feb. 15-16. A full range of supermarket offerings was presented, including produce, deli, bakery, meat, floral and general merchandise. Special trade show prices and vendor auctions were featured for SpartanNash corporate-owned stores and its affiliates, in addition to independent grocery stores.
Justin Bedwell from Bari Produce in Madera, CA.
Andersen Gales, Scott Galey and Michelle Garvey from Bolthouse Farms in Bakersfield, CA.
Jim Busche from Chelan Fresh, headquartered in Brewster, WA.
Greg Samels and Mark Gagnon from Del Monte Fresh Produce in Chicago.
Max Hoularis and Steven Ware from Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc. with Tim Waters from Dole Fresh Fruit Co. in Monterey, CA.
Karen Pflaum from Earthbound Farm, headquartered in San Juan Bautista, CA, and Jeri Hamp from SpartanNash.
Jeff Kaeter from SpartanNash and Mark Filauri from Grimmway Farms in Bakersfield, CA.
Kevin McKinney from J&J Distributing in St. Paul, MN, and Cecilia Bates from Goodness Gardens in New Hampton, NY.
Ryan Baxter from SpartanNash, Chris Hawn from Melissa’s/World Variety Produce in Vernon, CA, and Keisha Sapp from SpartanNash.
Rod Rosales and Patty Denson from Pacific Trellis-Dulcinea Farms in Fresno, CA.
Dina Boyce from Potandon Produce in Idaho Falls, ID.
Karla Sazama of Central Market in Detroit Lakes, MN, and Brian Hornstein from Robinson Fresh in Eden Prairie, MN.
Ryan Easter from Sage Fruit Co. in Crystal, MN, Jim Weber from Tadych’s Econo Foods in Iron Mountain, MI, and Willie Sosa from Sage Fruit Co.
Dan Estelle from SpartanNash.
Some of the SpartanNash team: (back row) Tim Eberle, Joe Roden and Jeff Kaeter, (front row) Franz Keuser, Jim Drew and Tim Geske.
Karla Sazama from Central Market in Detroit Lakes, MN, and Pat Steider from Mountain View Fruit Sales – Summeripe in Reedley, CA.
Mark Grijalva and Pat Steider from Mountain View Fruit Sales – Summeripe in Reedley, CA.
Chris Drier from Taylor Farms in Salinas, CA, and Dan Hasson from the Produce Network in Eagan, MN.
Tyler Neuman from the Fresh Connection in Minneapolis, Pauline Mac from Sweet Pea Market in Ceresco, NE, and Ryan Gafner from the Fresh Connection.
Daniel Garcia from Visalia Produce in Kingsburg, CA, Tim Eberle from SpartanNash and Tom Whitehouse from Visalia Produce.
Tou Yang and Steve Repasky from Waymouth Farms in New Hope, MN.
Jennifer Rigdon from Wholesale Produce Supply Co. in St. Paul, MN, and Tim Geske from SpartanNash.
COLUMBIA, SC — Gilbert Miller, a Clemson University researcher at Edisto Research Center in Blackville, SC, was elected president of the South Carolina Watermelon Association Jan. 14 at its 45th annual meeting, here. The association also celebrated the crowning of a 2017 South Carolina Watermelon Queen Blakely S. Johnson of Denmark, SC; raised $104,800 for South Carolina watermelon research and promotion during a live auction; and set a marketing plan for the year.
Lynn Williams of Williams Farms in Lodge, SC, who earlier had been a South Carolina Watermelon Queen contestant and this year was a judge for the contest, met with Minta Wade, watermelon queen coordinator from 1985 to 1997, who guided four South Carolina queens to national titles.
Scotty Sandifer, owner of Sandifer Farms in Blackville, SC, and president of the state watermelon association for 2015-17, took the podium to call the 45th annual meeting of the association to order in Columbia on Jan. 14.
A mother-daughter pair from Coosaw Farms in Fairfax, SC, attended the South Carolina Watermelon Association meeting and donated watermelons for the auction. Angela O’Neal Chappell, left, a past president of the association, sat next to her mother, Louise O’Neal.
South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh A. Weathers stands next to Scotty Sandifer (in red), president of the South Carolina Watermelon Association, during the group’s market overview.
Matt Cornwell, marketing specialist for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture and liaison to the South Carolina Watermelon Association, reviews plans with watermelon queens and contestants.
A trio of 2016 queens at the South Carolina Watermelon Association recent annual meeting in Columbia: North Carolina Watermelon Queen Sarah Lemons, South Carolina Watermelon Queen Laura Schurlknight, and National Watermelon Queen Carla Penney.
Stevie Still, owner of Goat Hill Farms in Olar, SC, and a member of the South Carolina Watermelon Association’s executive committee, with Martin Eubanks, assistant commissioner of agriculture for South Carolina.
Blakely S. Johnson was crowned 2017 South Carolina Watermelon Queen at the state’s watermelon association meeting. With her are the runners-up Sarah Yarborough and Hannah Martin (in white), along with 2016 queen Laura Schurlknight (far left). Jim Ray of Inglis Markets, who crowned the queen, is next to her. Scotty Sandifer, presiding, is behind the new queen.
LAS VEGAS, NV -- The 2017 NGA Show opened with over 3,400 registered attendees, making it the seventh consecutive year of record-breaking attendance. Alongside a sold-out expo floor, the National Grocers Association’s annual convention also witnessed record attendance from retailers and wholesalers.
“The NGA Show continues to experience growth, showcasing that this event is truly the event where independents gather. We are excited to continue to build off of the momentum from previous NGA Shows,” said Peter J. Larkin, president and chief executive officer of NGA.
Chris Mendes and Ray Mason with Red Sun’s lineup of specialty and artisan tomatoes.
Crystal Berry with Wholly Guacamole’s new layered dips.
Kelly Jacob from Pro*Act with Caesar Layton from Unata Inc.
Sarah Deaton of Zespri with TJ Wilson and Garland Perkins from Oppy.
Sam Capin, Sasha Lewton and Atanasio Panousopoulos of Delta Fresh Sales.
Mike Prather and Esther Hernandez show off Handy Candy’s packaging of cherry tomatoes and blueberries.
Mac Riggan and Stewart Lang of Chelan Fresh promote their Rockit apples and organic Bosc pears.
Paul Huckabay and Rich Uchida show off Duda Farm’s packaging for celery sticks.
Julie Lucido, Jim Grabovski and Alison Allwine show off Well-Pict strawberries and raspberries.
Ethan Williams with Sunlight International.
Pacificpro’s Marcus and Craig Hartmann talked up their new ventures Produce Pipeline and Cross Dock Xpress International.
Brian Slagel and Julie DeWolf show off Sunkist’s Meyer lemons and Moro Blood oranges.
Larry Woehl and Wayne Snyder with Decas Cranberry show off the company’s Paradise Meadows cooking and baking cranberries.
PMA’s George Szczepanski, Kyle McMillan and Joe Watson with NGA’s Matt Foley.
Julio Flores and Jonathan Gottfried of Bard Valley Date Growers.
Kent Beesley and Jamie Bowen talk Idaho Potatoes with Jim Walker of Pacific Alaska Wholesale.
Juliemar Rosado and Summer Walker of the National Watermelon Promotion Board.
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Agricultural interests across the Garden State gathered in early February for the 2017 New Jersey Agricultural Convention & Trade Show and New Jersey's State Agricultural Convention. The event took place Feb. 7-9 at Harrah's Resort & Waterfront Conference Center, here.
This was the 102nd State Agricultural convention and the sixth year of co-locating the annual convention with those of the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey and the New Jersey Blueberry Association.
Robert Pustizzi and Dan Deola of the Vineland Produce Auction.
Debbie Pribell, Nicole Kavanaugh and Ben Casella of the New Jersey Farm Bureau.
Rob Swanekamp of Kube Pak Growers.
At the New Jersey Department of Agriculture's booth were Thomas Beaver, Joe Atchison, Dan Wunderlich, Mike Martinelli, Chris Kleinguenther, Joseph Montresor and Bill Walker.
Robin Brumfield and Anna Molinski of Rutgers' New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.
Rose Tricario (center) of the NJDA's Division of Food & Nutrition with Beth Feehan and Chris Cirkus of the NJDA's Farm to School Program.
Santo John Maccherone, president of the State Board of Agriculture.
Richard Marolda Sr., Sherry Marolda, Richard Marolda Jr., Lauren Marolda and Tom Pease of Marolda Farms.
Oakcrest Farms, which is owned and operated by the Merlino family in Hammonton, NJ, received the Blueberry Grower of the Year at Wednesday night's dinner banquet. Photo courtesy of Jeff Wolfe/NJDA.
John Huff, owner of William Schober Sons Inc., accepted the Tony Russo Farmers Marketing Award from the New Jersey Agricultural Society. Photo courtesy of Jeff Wolfe/NJDA.
Craig Korb (center) of the Crabs Claw Inn in Lavalette, NJ, received the Phillip Alampi Industry Marketing Award during the New Jersey Agricultural Society's luncheon. He is shown with Kristina Guttadora, executive director of the society, and Rob Swanekamp, president of the society. Photo courtesy of Jeff Wolfe/NJDA.
Tom Pontano & Son Farm in Vineland, NJ, received the Patrick Mullen Quality Grading Award. Shown were Tom Beaver, director of the NJDA's Marketing & Development Division; Rita Pontano; Tom Pontano; Chris Kleinguenther, chief of the NJDA's Bureau of Commodity Inspection & Grading; Joseph Montresor, NJDA commodity grader; and Mike Martinelli, NJDA's Jersey Fresh inspector. Photo courtesy of Jeff Wolfe/NJDA.
The Russo family of Tabernacle, NJ, accepted the Vegetable Grower of the Year Award for the late Tony Russo at Wednesday night's dinner banquet at the State Agricultural Convention. Photo courtesy of Jeff Wolfe/NJDA.