Pundit Interviews

Pundit Letters

Perishable Pundit
P.O. Box 810425
Boca Raton FL 33481

Ph: 561-994-1118
Fax: 561-994-1610



Produce Business

Deli Business

American Food & Ag Exporter

Cheese Connoisseur

Not Too Late To Register For The New York Produce Show And Conference

The ingathering has begun…  Supermarkets operating in the region bringing hundreds of people, many of whom, until the event began, never had an opportunity to connect to this enormous and incredible industry; wholesale powerhouses that give high-volume a new meaning; local restaurants that set the culinary table for the nation; executives from national companies who know that things that really matter happen in New York head this way; educators, researchers, students, journalists, bloggers and produce industry “Thought Leaders” from all corners of the globe prepare for a world-class conclave in the city of New York, The New Produce Show and Conference.

It is a moment to give us all pause. This is the fourth iteration of The New York Produce Show and Conference, and there will be more exhibitors, more attendees, more learning, more networking, more sharing, more business getting done -- while people have more fun -- than ever before.

We decided to devote this whole Pundit edition to a preview of what the show has to offer. To those attending, this will help you in planning. To those not yet registered, you can still register both online and at the door.

Here is a brief video highlighting what some past attendees thought about The New York Produce Show and Conference:

It is never too late. If you would like to still register, you can do so right here.

If you need hotel rooms or any other help with finalizing your arrangements please let us know here.

Looking forward to seeing everyone, and learning together, at The New York Produce Show and Conference


Right People, Right Place, Right Time

There are always a million things to do, but the biggest obstacle to success in produce is that so many of us spend all of our time working in our business, and we neglect to work on our business. 

This week there is no place more likely to give you an opportunity to meet the right people, to learn important information, to open your mind to new opportunities and new ways to do business than The New York Produce Show and Conference.

Just look at the round-up videos from the last three years

The New York Produce Show And Conference 2010

The New York Produce Show And Conference 2011

The New York Produce And Conference 2012

We hope you will join us. You can register for the event right here

Thought-Leaders Panel To Kick Off New York Produce Show And Conference’s Trade Show Day

A special highlight of The New York Produce Show And Conference is the opening Perishable Pundit “Thought Leaders” Breakfast. The center of the event is a no-holds-barred panel, featuring top thought leaders drawn from the powerhouse retailers of the region, combined with a twist -- key players from the foodservice industry, a wholesaler representing the customers from terminal markets, and an experienced global player who can offer a completely different perspective.

It is unscripted discussion with people who make a difference every day. And there is nothing quite like anywhere else.

The industry owes a debt of gratitude to each thought-leader for being willing to share their expertise and, in so doing, to help elevate the entire industry.

It is a privilege and an honor to reveal the esteemed panel for the 2013 edition of breakfast that opens the trade show portion of The New York Produce Show and Conference.

The 2013 Perishable Pundit’s “Thought Leaders” Panel:


Director of Produce & Floral
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company

Eric started his career in 1973 as a produce clerk with Pathmark Stores Inc. His produce expertise quickly led to several store management positions. In 2011, Eric was named Director of Produce and Floral for Waldbaums, The Food Emporium, A&P, Pathmark, Food Basics, and Superfresh stores. In his current position Eric is responsible for all merchandising, procurement, pricing, and promotion for all of these banners.

Vice President of Produce & Floral
Wakefern Food Corporation

Starting his career at Wakefern in 1982, Derrick got his first taste of what the world of produce was all about when he worked as a junior accountant reporting to the produce division. From that position, he rose up the ranks to his current position of Vice President of Produce and Floral. Derrick credits his mentors, Herman Fadem and Al Ferri: “They worked with me at the early stages of my career and helped me lay a foundation upon which I could build a successful personal and professional career.”

Derrick is a member of the Eastern Produce Council and serves on the Board of PMA. He is married and has four children.

Category Manager
Ahold USA

In 1994, Chris was hired as a produce clerk at Albertsons in Boise, ID. He immediately knew the fit was good so he decided to earn a degree in Business Management at Boise State University.  As a clerk, assistant manager and manager, 14 years at store level was instrumental in developing a full understanding of merchandising, pricing and assortment along with the importance of anticipating customer needs, wants and expectations.  Gaining that experience and insight led him to the next career chapter in September 2010 as a merchandiser at Ahold USA. Now Chris works as fruit category manager,  in which he is responsible for developing plans to profitably drive sales in an ever-changing retail landscape. 

“Giving back to the communities in which we live and work is important to me professionally and personally.  Working with my team and vendor partners, I have supported initiatives through various company-supported charitable programs.  One of my favorite things about Produce is the fact that it changes by the day, by the hour and by the minute.  Whether we are facing weather-related issues or changing consumer tastes/expectations, there is never a dull moment.”

Vice President of Produce & Floral
Kings Super Markets

An industry veteran for more than 30 years, Paul has been in his position at Kings since June 2007. In addition to overseeing produce and floral for Kings Super Markets in New Jersey and in Long Island, Paul also oversees produce and floral for Balducci's Food Lover's Markets with stores in Connecticut, New York, Maryland, and Virginia.

Paul is Vice President of the Eastern Produce Council and chair of its New York Produce Show and Conference committee. 

Produce/Floral Buyer Merchandiser & Procurement
McCaffrey’s Markets

Tony Mirak has been associated with McCaffrey’s Markets as Produce/Floral Merchandiser and Procurement for the past 13 years. His responsibilities are all phases of produce and floral operations, including retail merchandising, procurement, advertising, development of new products and sales strategies.

His personal mission is to deliver excitement and enthusiasm to the produce and floral industries and the future directions in his own inspiring way. His expertise is in produce and floral merchandising, motivation, marketing strategies and training.

He was associated with two major produce wholesalers and an independent supermarket as a Buyer, Produce Specialist and Produce Manager for over 26 years.

Director of Produce and Floral
Allegiance Retail Services

Vic has more than 35 years’ experience in the supermarket industry. His responsibilities at Allegiance include managing sales, coordinating advertising, merchandising, operational activities and managing the procurement of product for more than 85 member stores under the Foodtown and D’Agostino’s banners in NJ, NY, and PA. Previous to Allegiance, Vic was employed for more than 22 years at Wakefern Food Corporation, where he served most recently as a Category Manager during his past 15 years of service.

Vic is currently a Vice President of the Eastern Produce Council, a position he has held since 2010. Vic serves on the Expo Committee, Membership Committee, Strategic Planning Committee and is Co-Chairman of the Eastern Produce Council Golf Outing Committee. Vic is a graduate of William Paterson University and resides in West Caldwell, NJ, with his wife Maria, their son Dante and daughter Mia.

Produce Merchant
Fresh Direct

Eric Stone is the Produce Merchant at popular online grocer FreshDirect. He spends about half of his time traveling the country, developing relationships with farmers to source produce that is differentiating and of the highest quality. He joined FreshDirect after graduating college in 2008, working his way up in the department during the past 5+ years. During that time, he has doubled the department’s sales and transformed FreshDirect’s supply chain to a direct-from-the-source model, improving quality and reducing cost. Eric earned his degree in Finance and Philosophy from the University of Maryland and currently lives in Manhattan enjoying everything the NYC food scene has to offer.

Director of Produce/Floral
Tops Markets.

This year Steve was honored as the 2013 Produce Retailer of the Year by the Produce Retailer magazine.  Tops Markets is a leading full-service grocery retailer operating 156 stores in upstate New York, Northern Pennsylvania, and Western Vermont. A 31-year industry veteran, Steve's background includes extensive experience in retail, wholesale, procurement and sales.

Foodservice Distributors

Vice President of Produce
Sysco Corporation

Rich Dachman is a native of Denver, CO, and attended Colorado State University. He began his produce career at his family-owned business in Denver.  Following the sale of the family business, he and his father opened a new foodservice operation in Denver for Kraft Foods, Inc. before joining Kraft’s corporate office in Chicago as national director of produce in 1987. 

In 1992 he joined FreshPoint Inc. and was president of FreshPoint Operating Companies in Houston, Denver, Atlanta and their central procurement office in Salinas, CA. When Sysco acquired FreshPoint in 2000, he was appointed to the position as senior vice president, Western Region, and in 2007 was promoted to vice president of produce for Sysco Corporation. Rich served as chairman for the Produce Marketing Association in 2012.


Tim York started working in the produce industry more than 35 years ago at H. Hall & Company, a grower/shipper of strawberries and mixed vegetables. In addition to being a founding employee and the current President of Markon, Tim also has held numerous committee and task force positions, including Member, USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Council; Chairman of the Produce Marketing Association (2002); Director of the PMA; Chairman of PMA’s Foodservice Division; Chairman, Center for Produce Safety Advisory Board; and is a founding member of the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops. Now that Tim and his wife have seen their youngest off to college, he is enjoying the extra time he has to spend with his new grandson.


Fierman Produce Exchange, Inc.

Joel Fierman is the President of Joseph Fierman & Son, Bronx, NY, and has served as Chairman of the Public Relations Committee of the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Association, Bronx, NY. The third generation of his family to run the wholesale produce business, Joel has directed the transformation of his family business from that of a traditional potato and onion house into a much larger, modern full line wholesaler. Hunts Point serves as the central distribution center for many of the New York Metro area’s independent supermarkets and produce stands, plus many restaurants. It also serves as a marketing arm for growers and shippers, prepared to help them sell the products they need to.

International Delegate

Head of UK Sales and Marketing
Capespan International Ltd. (formerly of Red Tractor Assurance, Thanet Earth and Mack Multiples)

Hazel is part of a new generation of talent entering the UK Fresh Produce industry, delivering growth by bringing together dynamic growers and intelligent consumer insight.

Hazel graduated from Oxford University with a BA in Modern History, before heading straight to the fresh produce industry. Her career started in marketing, working for Fresca Group, the UK’s largest privately owned fresh produce company. Supporting the hot house veg commercial team, she steered premium retailers Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Sainsbury’s on their sales and marketing strategy.   

Her next break was at Thanet Earth – the UK’s largest greenhouse development, growing tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers for Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer. This pioneering, $130M investment is credited with revitalizing the UK’s protected crops industry. Soon after joining, Hazel moved up to the role of account manager, growing the Tesco business into the project’s leading account.

In 2012, she moved to Red Tractor Assurance, the UK’s leading quality standard across all fresh food. The role had her working with the top management at all UK retailers, food service companies, farming unions and industry bodies on promoting the Red Tractor scheme. Today the Red Tractor logo is used on $20bn worth of fresh food in the UK.

Missing the cut and thrust of Fresh Produce, Hazel was lured back into the industry with the top UK sales slot at the prestigious international fruit company, Capespan. In just a few years, Hazel has carved out an impressive reputation for being a passionate supporter of growers and a consumer champion, combining consumer trends with growth opportunities in a fast moving industry.


The breakfast starts sharp at 8:00 AM on Wednesday.  It takes place at Pier 94 and you can walk directly from the breakfast to the trade show indoors. So be there in plenty of time to get a good seat.

If you yet haven’t registered for the Breakfast or for the rest of The New York Produce Show and Conference, you can do so right here.

Registration is available at the door, but doing it online will save you a wait.

And if you need help with hotels or any additional information about the show, please let us know here.

See you in New York!

Theresa Lowden Receives First Annual EPC Woman Of Distinction Award

Each year at The New York Produce Show and Conference, we begin something new. This year the Eastern Produce Council established a Women’s Leadership Committee and in conjunction with that we have established a Women’s Leadership Reception, which will take place adjacent to the trade show on Wednesday, December 11, 2013, at 3:30 PM.

In conjunction with the reception, PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine will commence an annual tradition of presenting an award to a woman who has exemplified the qualities of leadership that can both inspire other women and lead to a more successful industry.

For this, our inaugural award, there was little question that the award should go to Theresa Lowden, Executive Vice President at JOH.

Specifically, the award is being presented for Theresa’s efforts to launch the Women’s Leadership Committee for the Eastern Produce Council. More generally, the award is being presented for almost two decades of tireless work, including a not-insignificant amount of work helping us launch The New York Produce Show and Conference.

Paul Kneeland, President of the Eastern Produce Council, will say a few words. This Pundit, acting on behalf of PRODUCE BUSINESS, will present the award, and Theresa will have an opportunity to tell us about her journey as a woman in the produce industry.

We extend heartfelt congratulations to Theresa.

Although free, this event is a By Invitation Only limited capacity event. If you would like an invitation, please let us know here

Spouses Are Welcome (And Treated Royally) At New York Produce Show And Conference

New York City is a magical place this time of year. The tree is up in Rockefeller Center, the skaters glide beneath it, the windows along Fifth Avenue are now depicting holiday stories. The Rockettes kick high in their Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.

So if you are coming to New York for The New York Produce Show and Conference, you would be wise to bring your significant other. so make it easy, interesting and fun, since its founding The New York Produce Show and Conference has offered a terrific Spouse/Companion program.

Home Base is the East Penthouse on the 45th Floor of the New York Hilton, with dramatic views of Central Park. Here, the program kicks off with a breakfast from 9 am to 11 am, where everyone gets to meet one another. All day long the suite is open, refreshments and light food flow, while make-up artists, chair massage and other delights await.

Then there is a luxurious — and heated — tour bus that gives an incredible tour of Christmas in New York. The tour guide accompanies attendees to show them the holiday settings the way true New Yorkers enjoy them.

Stop to visit the famous Holiday Market behind the main New York Public Library and enjoy a holiday shopping spree.

The highlight of the program is always High Tea in the Palm Court of the beautiful Plaza hotel.

You will get a photo with the Toy Soldier at FAO Schwartz and visit Barney’s department store.

One can participate in any or all of the program’s events. Come and join the New York Produce Show’s Spouse/Companion Program to make new friends and tour the City during the holidays. You will see New York City at its finest!

If you would like to have more information on the Spouse/Companion Program or wish to sign up, just e-mail us here. 

Expand Your Industry Experience With A Regional Industry Tour At The New York Produce Show And Conference

It would be a shame to come to The New York Produce Show and Conference and spend the entire time in a convention hall or hotel.

It is a big region - the biggest buying center in the United States and a font of innovation. We encourage people to come early and stay late and visit clients and suppliers.

We also run 5 industry tours that take industry leaders to Philadelphia – and its new Wholesale Produce market -- to Brooklyn – the headquarters of the urban agriculture movement. In between, we have the mighty Hunts Point Market, the largest produce market in the world, high volume New Jersey retailers and suppliers, and we have a tour to some of Manhattan’s most innovative retailers.


Here are the options:

Industry Bus Tours
Thursday, December 12

Leaves/Returns to New York Hilton
54th Street Entrance

1. Morton Williams
2. Grand Central Market
3. Manhattan Fruit Exchange at the Chelsea Market
4. Westside Market
5. Fairway Broadway
6. Whole Foods
Return to Hilton by approx. 3:00pm

1. Whole Foods
2. House Foods
3. Kings Food Markets
4. Shoprite
5. Maurice Auerbach
Return to Hilton by approx. 3:30pm

1. Pfizer Mushroom Facility
2. Brooklyn Navy Yard Rooftop Farm & Apiary
3. Kings County Distillery
4. Cherry Hill Gourmet Market
Return to Hilton by approx. 2:00pm

1. Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market
2. Wegmans
Return to Hilton by approx.4:00pm

Return to Hilton by approx.3:00pm


 The tours are always enlightening, and often top executives from the companies we are touring pop in to greet us and explain their operations. Sometimes just who you meet on the bus makes them pay off.

They cost only $100 and if you are interested in a tour, just let us know which one here

Global Trade Symposium Brings Thought-Leaders From Around The World

One of the purposes of The New York Produce Show and Conference is to encourage the exchange of ideas between industry thought-leaders around the world. To facilitate this, we co-locate The New York Produce Show and Conference with the Global Trade Symposium.

Of course, import and export now affects everyone. Retailers and foodservice operators may buy from US vendors, but an awful lot of product comes from overseas. Growers may sell domestically, but the price they realize depends crucially onthe availability of foreign markets and foreign sources of supply.

So, today, everyone needs to be focused on global trade, and the Global Trade Symposium offers a world-class program like nothing else out there.

You can see the program from 2011 here and 2012 right here. Now, we are proud to announce The Global Trade Symposium agenda for 2013:


Presented at

Produce Import & Export:
A View From America’s Gateway To The World

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
New York Hilton, New York


7:00am —6:30pm                

8:15am — 9:00am
Continental Breakfast
Location:    The West Ballroom Foyer (third floor)

9:00am — 9:15am
General Session/Welcome Remarks
Presenter:Jim Prevor/PRODUCE BUSINESS
Location: The West Ballroom Foyer
             (third floor)

9:15am — 10:00am
Case studies of Thanet Earth, Red Tractor and Capespan Empowerment Projects and Their Impact On Global Retailing
Presenter: Hazel Akehurst/Capespan
               (Formerly with Mack Multiples/
               Thanet Earth/Red Tractor)
Location: The West Ballroom (third floor)

10:00am — 10:45am
Open markets build prosperity, yet many fight to keep them closed. Why battling for access is a commercial AND moral imperative.
Presenter: Danie Kievet/Freshworld Holdings
Location:  The West Ballroom (third floor)

10:45am — 11:30am
In a litigious society, the temptation is to hold back; here is why the key to global success may be in opening up.  
Presenter:  Dawn E. Gray/Dawn Gray Global Consulting          
Location:   The West Ballroom (third floor)

11:30 pm — 12:45 pm

Packaging as an opportunity to rebrand, reposition and reconnect with the global consumer.
Presenter: Lisa Cork/Fresh Produce Marketing
Location:  The West Ballroom (third floor)

12:45 pm — 1:45pm
Keynote Presentation
How do supply and demand intersect, factors influencing consumer demand and global strategies to increase produce consumption.
Presenter: Roberta Cook, PhD/
               University of California, Davis
Location: The West Ballroom (third floor)

1:45 pm – 2:45 pm
Why is food security an urgent issue? How does ‘local’ play into concerns regarding food security? What new technologies are impacting the debate? And how the buy and sell side must work together if we are to have a secure future.
Presenter: Andrew Sharp/ Sharp Enterprises
Location:  The West Ballroom (third floor)

2:45pm — 4:15
Top leadership from Central America and South America will discuss growth, product diversity, quality, food safety, sustainability, traceability and how their dynamic produce industries are creating opportunities to be capitalized on for the rest of the century.


Presenter: Conrado Falco
Title: Director - Trade Commission of Peru in New YorkPresentation Name:"PERU:  Produce Excellence in Quality and Taste “




Presenter: Diego Diaz
Title: Commercial Attaché / Trade Commissioner Guatemala Trade Office NY
Presentation Name: 
"The Guatemalan Trends in Exporting Produce to the U.S."


Presenter: Horrys Friaça , DVM, PhD
Title: Agricultural Attaché to the
        Brazilian Embassy, in Washington DC
Presentation Name:
Brazilian Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Exports to the U.S.”



Presenter: Maria Franco
Title: Economic Counselor of the Embassy of
        Uruguay in Washington DC



Beatriz Silva
First Secretary, Economic and
Commercial Department
Presentation Name:
Opportunities in the Produce Sector of UruguayLocation: The West Ballroom (third floor)

4:15pm —  4:45 pm
A no-holds-barred presentation about the possibilities and challenges of global procurement. Followed by a dynamic respondent panel.
Presenter: Wayne McKnight/McKnight
               Insights & Solutions
Facilitator: Jim Prevor/PRODUCE BUSINESS

   Rich Dachman/Sysco
   Reggie Griffin/Formerly of Kroger
   Bruce Peterson/Formerly of Wal-Mart
   Dick Spezzano/Formerly of Vons
   Tim York/Markon Group
Location:    The West Ballroom (third floor)

4:45pm – 5:00pm —Wrap-Up

6:00 pm – 8:00pm —Opening Cocktail Reception

Location:   The East Grand Ballroom (third floor)


Whether you need to grab a plane or a subway, you can still make it in time for The Global Trade Symposium, which means you still have a chance to engage with serious people thinking hard about how the industry can create an environment within which we can all prosper and how each of us, individually, can act to capitalize on the environment in which we live and work.

If you want to do business optimally, get smarter. There is no better opportunity than attending The Global Trade Symposium.

If you would like to register or get more information, let us know right here


University Interchange Program And Educational Micro-sessions To Feature Professors, Retailer-Mentors And Cutting-Edge Information

One of the joys of The New York Produce Show and Conference is the University Interchange Program.

Through this program, we bring in faculty members and students from food marketing and agriculture or applied economics programs. The faculty present their cutting-edge research and thus serve their goal of outreach to industry, while the students learn about the industry, network and, in time, get internships and jobs.

We run special lecture programs for the students. This year, the honorary chairpersons of the program are Jack and Linda Allen. Esteemed academics, we are lucky to have them.

Returning as panelists this year are our three industry experts, Bruce Peterson, formerly of Wal-Mart, Reggie Griffin, formerly of Kroger, and Dick Spezzano, formerly of Vons. Plus we have a special guest from Britain, Hazel Akehurst, who is head of UK Sales and Marketing for Capespan International LTD now but has a long resume in many facets of the UK produce industry.

The academic presentations are intriguing, and we are most proud to unveil the 2013 Educational Micro-session Program. A special treat... we added Lisa Cork, a non-academic, who has flown all the way from New Zealand to share ideas on packaging with attendees.

10:30 am - 11:30 am

The Do’s and Don’ts of Preparing Business Plans
Robin G. Brumfield, Ph.D.
Professor and Specialist in Farm Management
Dept. of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics
School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

While most produce businesses only prepare a business plan to get a loan, there is no better way to strategically plan your business than by researching and writing a business plan. During this process, you can examine all the pros and cons of a potential new business opportunity and reevaluate your current business goals. We will review the key sections and things you should consider to get everyone in your business on board.

11:30 am - 12:15 pm

New Ways To Think About Local: The Eastern Broccoli Project
Miguel Gómez
Assistant Professor
Cornell University
Dyson School of Applied
Economics and Management
Ithaca, New York

The implications of developing East Coast varieties of popular West Coast or imported produce are astounding. This session will explain the economic experiment to elicit people’s willingness to pay for two new East Coast broccoli varieties that are strong candidates for commercial production using California product as a benchmark.

Thomas Bjorkman
Associate Professor
Department of
Cornell University
Geneva, New York



12:15 pm - 1:00 pm

Economics Of Local And Organic
Benjamin Campbell, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Extension Economist
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
University of Connecticut
Storrs, Connecticut

The changing roles in local and organic and the willingness to pay associated with each.

1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

Lessons From Locapours: 
What Wine Studies Tell Us About Produce
Brad Rickard
Assistant Professor
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied
Economics and Management
Director of Horticultural Business and Policy Program
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York

Do restaurants cater to locapours? Using Zagat Survey data to examine factors that influence wine list selections.

1:45 pm - 2:30 pm

Marketing Vitamin D Mushrooms
Dr. John Stanton
Professor and Chairman
Food Marketing Department
Saint Joseph’s University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Learn unfolding developments in this multi-phase research project, supported by a USDA Mushroom Council grant, to penetrate consumer interest in Vitamin D mushrooms, and ultimately grow the entire category. The hope is to develop a model applicable to other produce categories.

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Ethno Botany: New Perspectives for Neglected Vegetables and Fruits?
Andrea Pieroni
Food Botany &
University of Gastronomic Sciences

Ethno botany is the trans-disciplinary science that focuses on the links between plants and human societies. We will briefly address the history and the methodologies of this approach and will show via concrete case-studies the potential role of Traditional Knowledge regarding plants in discovering and re-evaluating the sensory characteristics and cultural meanings of forgotten and/or neglected wild, semi-domesticated, and cultivated vegetables and fruits in different parts of Italy, Europe, and beyond.

Alice Noel Fabi
Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche - University of Gastronomic Sciences


3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Savvy Strategies -- Persuasive Packaging -- Bold Brands
Lisa Cork
Fresh Produce Marketing, LTD

Grow your produce business by unleashing the power of proper packaging. Using packaging to connect with consumers around the world.


There is no special registration required for these sessions. Just make sure you are registered for The New York Produce Show and Conference and the Micro-sessions are included.

You can register at the door or, save the wait and register right here.

“IDEATION FRESH” Foodservice Forum At New York Produce Show And Conference To Tackle Produce Procurement ‘Disconnects’

The New York Produce Show and Conference is an unusual event in that it serves buyers from all sectors of trade -- retail to be sure, but also massive wholesale buyers, substantial exporters, processors, overseas importers and, of course, foodservice operators and distributors.

New York is the very center of culinary trends in America, and so it is only appropriate that we created special event, the “IDEATION FRESH” Foodservice Forum to co-locate with The New York Produce Show and Conference.

This event, now in its third year, keeps growing because it’s a serious effort to address the issues that block foodservice from using produce to meet USDA goals of a half-plate of produce. It also looks to remove barriers that prevent produce from playing the role it could in reducing obesity.

This year, we are looking at hardcore “nuts and bolts” issues, such as the disjunctions and disconnects in the supply chain that serve as barriers that keep produce consumption down.

What happens between a chef and the procurement executives in one’s own company?

How do vendors interact with foodservice buyers?

How do distributors interact with both operators and vendors?

We have put together an incredible assemblage of talent to help make progress on these important issues.

It is always a great program… look here for the 2011 program and here for 2012… but this year will be truly exceptional. We are proud to unveil the “IDEATION FRESH” Foodservice Forum 2013 program:

…Addressing Menu Planning,
Produce Procurement and Partnerships

It’s one thing to create wonderful menu items featuring fresh fruits and vegetables, but when
it comes to actually putting produce on the plate 365 days a year, it’s another thing entirely!

Thursday, December 12, 2013
New York Hilton Midtown Hotel, New York City


7:00am – 8:00am:  Registration:  
New York Hilton Hotel — 2nd Floor-Gramercy Room

8:00am – 8:30am:  Continental Breakfast
New York Hilton Hotel


8:30am – 8:45am:  Welcome Remarks/Introductions
New York Hilton Hotel
Speaker: Jim Prevor/PRODUCE BUSINESS

New York Hilton Hotel
Description: What is hot in the New York restaurant and foodservice world? Who are the movers and shakers of the latest food trends? Where does FRESH PRODUCE fit in?
Speaker: Chandra Ram/PLATE MAGAZINE

9:30 – 10:15 am:   CHEF DEMO ONE
New York Hilton Hotel
Description: Cooking with Fruit
Chef Kerry Heffernan
(Assisted by culinary school students from ICE,
Le Cordon Bleu and Johnson & Wales)

10:15am – 10:30am
Beverage and Conversation Break
New York Hilton Hotel

10:30am – 11:30pm:   PRODUCE ON THE MENU
New York Hilton Hotel
Description: One of the best known and most quoted menu analysts in the restaurant industry, Nancy Kruse will discuss the challenges and opportunities of featuring produce on menus in both chain restaurants and upscale white tablecloth eateries. Nancy’s presentation will be menu-driven and focus on opportunities for produce sales, especially as these relate to day-parts, meal-parts, breakout performers and overall trends.
Speaker:   Nancy Kruse
President, The Kruse Company

11:30pm – 12:45pm:   DISCUSSION PANEL 1 – Partnerships In Procurement For Chain Restaurants
New York Hilton Hotel
Description: Quality, availability and price have to weigh in as top factors in putting produce on menus in the nation’s chain restaurants. This panel will discuss entire process of developing menus and executing the produce plan for the chains to get the produce on plates for multiple restaurants 365 days a year.
Moderator:  Ellen Koteff, former Editor-In-Chief, Nation’s Restaurant News
Panelists: Rich Dachman, Vice President of Produce, Sysco
Peter Grannis, Director of Produce, Maines Paper & Food Service
Cathy Leffingwell, Director Produce Supply Chain, Brinker Intl
Shelley Oenbrink, Manager Distribution & Logistics, Brinker Intl
Jeremy Leech, Executive Chef, Fresh & Co.
Paulette Satur, Owner, Satur Farms

12:45pm – 1:00 pm:  IDEATION FRESH Menu Challenge
New York Hilton Hotel
Description: Room will be divided into small groups with challenges posed to create menu items that involve produce staples and specialties on 50% of the plate.
Speaker: Jim Prevor/PRODUCE BUSINESS

1:00 pm - 1:45pm:   Ideation Break Out Luncheon
New York Hilton Hotel
Description: Small groups work on ideation of menus based on each challenge presented.

1:45 – 2:15 pm: Presentation of Small Groups/Discussion of Challenges Ahead
New York Hilton Hotel
Description: Each group will report back with their menu creations and then a discussion of the challenges and opportunities will follow. Students from Culinary Schools will lead presentations of menus.
Facilitator: Tim York, Markon

2:15 – 3:00:  CHEF DEMO TWO
New York Hilton Hotel
Description: Cooking with Vegetables
Chef Alain De Coster, International Culinary Center of NY
Assisted by culinary school students from the International Culinary Center, ICE, Le Cordon Bleu and Johnson & Wales)

3:00 pm – 4:15 pm:   DISCUSSION PANEL 2 –
Partnerships In Procurement
For White Tablecloth Restaurants
New York Hilton Hotel
Description: When a restaurant can charge $150 a plate, produce procurement may not seem to be a big obstacle. Need locally grown microgreens in the winter? No problem. A case can be delivered within 24 hours. But is it that simple? This panel of produce distributors and restaurateurs will discuss the pitfalls of produce procurement in the rarified world of fine dining.
Moderator: Caroline Perkins, President, The Foodservice Content Company
Tim York, CEO, Markon
Joel Panagakos, Exec. VP Business Development,  J. Kings
Michael Muzyk, President, Baldor
Ben Pollinger, Executive Chef, Oceana Restaurant
Maricel Presilla, Chef-Owner,
Cucharamama, Zafra, Ultramarinos

4:15pm – 4:30 pm   WRAP UP
New York Hilton Hotel
Speaker: Jim Prevor/PRODUCE BUSINESS


If you want to be part of the solution and if you want to capitalize on the opportunities in front of the foodservice industry, you’ll want to be here.

To register or get additional information let us know here.



Lots A-Cookin’ At Culinary Innovation Stations And Celebrity Chef Stage Of The New York Produce Show And Conference

The idea of students coming to get jobs in the industry is fantastic. We need a next generation. But we also value students who are in culinary schools.

We don’t want them to quit school and start booking loads on some sales desk; we want them to become great chefs and include produce generously in all their recipes.

To help make this happen, we bring in students and faculty from culinary schools. The students forage the trade show floor for ingredients while the faculty and students continuously prepare some great plant-based dishes to give to attendees.

We run special lecture programs for the students. This year, the honorary chairpersons of the program are Jack and Linda Allen. Esteemed academics, we are lucky to have them. 

We also bring in a whole group of celebrity chefs – from famed restaurateur David Burke to a local DJ Chef who spins songs while shaking a skillet — to show innovative ways of using produce.  Here is the 2013 chef schedule — what a showing of top chefs:

10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Regional Executive Chef, New York
Rosa Mexicano Restaurants

When Joe was 21 years old, he owned a coffee truck and his own catering company while simultaneously attending the New York Restaurant School.  After graduating in 1992, Joe started an internship at C3 that ended seven years later when he was working as the Sous Chef.  In 2000 Joe went to work at Home Restaurant where he met fellow Rosa Mexicano chef David Suarez.  

After three years of working summers on Fire Island at Tequila Jacks and the off-season at Home, Joe took a position as Line Supervisor with Rebecca Charles at Pearl, where he was able to learn the skill-set needed to run a kitchen.  While at Terrence Brennan’s Seafood and Chophouse in the Benjamin Hotel in 2004, the restaurant closed only to reopen as Ocean 50, where Joe was named opening Executive Chef.  

Joe then joined Rosa Mexicano as the Executive Chef of Lincoln Center in 2005 and was promoted in 2011 to Regional Executive Sous Chef.  Joe continues to enjoy being part of an expanding brand that now holds a national presence.  When Joe is not at Rosa Mexicano, he is cooking at home with his twin daughters, Jalissa and Ashley, or following the Yankees as a proud, loyal fan.

12:00 pm – 1:30 pm


“The Chef That Rocks!" is the only entertainer who simultaneously cooks and DJ's for special events worldwide and is Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen Champion.

His recipe is simple: Spin the hottest music while mixing up some delectable gourmet dishes. Throw in some celebrity soirees along with a TV pilot and add some buzz. For nearly 10 years, DJ Chef  Marc Weiss has been hitting up a scene that has never been tapped.

While his experience and determination have guided him to the top of his game, Marc has been hailed as a pioneer and innovator for successfully fusing his two passions and becoming a national crowd-pleasing culinary entertainer. He recently won Food Network’s new competition show hosted by Alton Brown “Cutthroat Kitchen” and  co-hosted the World Food Championship in Las Vegas with Man vs Food‘s Adam Richman.  

While food and  cooking have always been Marc’s forefront, as a teen he began making his hobby into a reality. Marc began deejaying at house parties when he was just 16. A couple years later he additionally took on a job as a prep cook. After high school, Marc attended the New York Restaurant School in New York City. After earning his toque, he went on to work with star chefs Bobby Flay, Matthew Kenney and John Tesar and in fine kitchens throughout the city.

Marc found his culinary groove and returned to Long Island to cook at some of the hottest restaurants around. His success as a  noted chef was becoming a reality within local media outlets like News 12, Newsday, and The New York Times, and Marc began hosting and catering private parties during that time. More and more, people began socializing in the kitchen with him and asking him culinary questions.

Presently,  DJ CHEF  is working on his own reality television series and cookbook and  is performing nationwide at special events, corporate functions, launch parties, grand openings, food festivals and trade shows.

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Alain De Coster
Lead Chef-Instructor
The International Culinary Center

Raised in Brussels, Chef Alain realized he wanted to become a chef at age 11 after spending many years assisting one of his beloved aunts in her kitchen. He graduated with distinction from Belgium’s Centre d’Etudes des Industries Alimentaires et du Touisme, and has won numerous awards throughout his culinary career.

He’s worked as chef-instructor of the Escoffier Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America, and counts André Daguin, Georges Blanc, and Remy Jacxsens among his most influential mentors.

He advises aspiring chefs to work the trenches first, to never stop learning, and to “look the part, act the part, be the part!” Chef Alain joined The International Culinary Center in 2010.

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Chef David Burke
American Chef and Restaurateur 
New York City

David Burke’s fascination with ingredients and the art of the meal has fueled a 30-year career. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and traveled to France where he completed several stages with notable chefs. His mastery of French culinary technique was confirmed when, at age 26, he won France’s coveted Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Diplome d’Honneur for unparalleled skill and creativity with his native cuisine.

Burke returned to the U.S. as a sous chef at La Cremaillere and then at The River Café, where he ascended to executive chef and earned three stars from The New York Times. In 1992, Burke partnered in the opening of the Park Avenue Café. He has been honored with numerous awards and recognitions including Japan’s Nippon Award of Excellence, the Robert Mondovi Award of Excellence and the CIA’s August Escoffier Award.

In 2013, the David Burke Group was recognized by Restaurant Hospitality magazine as having one of the "Coolest Multi-concept Companies in the Land." The article cites the numerous incarnations of Chef Burke's creative vision, from David Burke Townhouse to David Burke Fishtail, from Burke in the Box to David Burke’s Primehouse. Burke’s visibility as a celebrity chef has led to consultant positions with hotels, cruise lines and food experts. Burke will consult for Holland America Line Culinary Council on the cruise line’s culinary initiatives, including the Culinary Arts Center enrichment program, and provide signature recipes which will be featured on all 15 ships.


Once again, the chef demos are included with your registration for The New York Produce Show and Conference. So come and see culinary expertise applied to produce and make sure you are registered right here


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