In many ways the Canadian Produce Marketing Association show is the Pundit’s favorite. What makes it special is that although it is large and important enough to attract big players, it still has an intimate scale. You attend two years in a row and you already know a big chunk of people. Many people who are simply booked every second at PMA can hang out and talk till the wee hours of the morning.
Although we had intended to attend this year, the Pundit got called away before his intended trip from Chicago to Montreal. The Pundit Poppa had to have his gall bladder removed.
It was a relic of a procedure we had done last year when we went to Houston, Texas, to do a stem cell transplant from the Poppa Pundit’s identical twin brother to fight a life threatening leukemia. We wrote about that experience right here.
Chemotherapy had led to sludge and infection in the gall bladder, but the Poppa Pundit wasn’t strong enough to handle such an operation at that time. So it was delayed until he was strong again.
Today most gall bladder operations are done laparoscopically, this one required a full incision and a delicate operation to separate organs that had become compressed. Still, he came through it with flying colors and was just released from the hospital to go home today.
Next year’s CPMA is in Calgary. That is where the first Canadian convention — then called the Canadian Fruit Wholesalers Association — the Pundit ever attended was held, back in 1986. We still have a bandana and cowboy hat they gave out that year.
Don’t think the Pundit parents have ever made it to Alberta, so maybe we will take them next year. Poppa Pundit has always liked to see new places and, for Momma Pundit, it is 171 miles from Calgary to the world’s largest shopping mall in Edmonton.
And only another 240 miles and we can visit a deposit of oil that dwarfs Saudi Arabia: The Alberta oil sands.
One odd thing about the CPMA is that many Americans have had a bad taste in their mouths from dealing with Canadian firms that are not bound under PACA. So many Americans go to Canada only looking to sell three big retailers.
Now there is another alternative. The Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation is a membership organization designed to create a PACA-like structure to facilitate trade between the NAFTA partners. We had a nice piece about the DRC in Pundit sister publication, PRODUCE BUSINESS, which you can read right here.
It is worth thorough investigation. The CPMA is always fun but too many Americans enjoy it because they get the opportunity to speak to their American friends and associates in a low key atmosphere. Working with the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation, Americans could also feel more comfortable picking up some business up north.