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Spring Produce Show Lineup

Of course, the big produce event this season is the United Fresh Produce Association Show, which this year is themed Winning is Everything — we are certain in homage to its Las Vegas venue and not as a statement of values.

United this year has a big event planned with Jeb Bush as the keynote speaker and a roster of educational and networking events. Its post-event conference, which last year focused on food safety, targets sustainability.

America now also has a roster of regional produce events. The Fresh Produce and Floral Council just finished its Northern California Expo in Pleasanton, California. Its Southern California show is coming up July 20, 2010, at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim.

Just last month, The Southeast Produce Council completed its Southern Exposure Event and will be coming back strong next March with another edition.

Over the summer PMA will have its long established Foodservice Conference and, come the Fall, the “mother of all produce events” when PMA holds its annual Fresh Summit in Orlando.

And, of course, The Eastern Produce Council and PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine are presenting the premier iteration of The New York Produce Show.

However, this week’s produce trade show is up in Boston, where The New England Produce Council is presenting the 10th annual iteration of the NEPC Produce & Floral Expo.

We confess a special fondness for the Boston event. The Pundit was honored to be the very first keynote speaker back ten years ago, and PRODUCE BUSINESS has been privileged to present at the event, jointly with the NEPC, an annual New England Retailer of the Year Award since 2005:

2005 — Paul Kneeland

2006 — Jack Salamon

2007 — Domenic D’Antuono

2008 — Will Wedge

2009 — Mike Giza

This year’s event features Tedy Bruschi of the New England Patriots as the “Expo Sports Celebrity,” and we’ve received an announcement about this year’s keynote speaker:

The New England Produce Council, Inc. is happy to announce Lenny Clarke, comedian/actor, as their keynote speaker at the 10th annual NEPC Produce & Floral Expo on Wednesday April 14th at the Hynes Convention Center, Boston.

Lenny Clarke is best known in the entertainment world for his sarcastic social commentaries, anecdotal humor and thick Boston accent. He served as the regular host of the open mike nights at the locally famous Ding Ho restaurant for four years before showcasing his talent to audiences around the world in television shows, movies and stand-up acts.

Clarke has been cast in numerous television shows, such as ABC’s “The Job,” and was featured in his own TV series, “Lenny,” which ran for 18 episodes. He has also appeared on “The Tonight Show,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Good Morning America,” numerous specials on Comedy Central and has a recurring role as Uncle Teddy on Denis Leary’s FX drama “Rescue Me.”

On the big screen, Clarke has been featured in several films, including “Two if by Sea,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Rounders,” “Moonlight Mile,” “Just Another Story,” “Stuck on You,” with fellow Cambridge native Matt Damon, and most recently “Fever Pitch.” As a stand-up comedian, Clarke has been featured on “The Arsenio Hall Show,” VH1’s “Stand-Up Spotlight,” MTV’s “Funny Papers,” and HBO’s “Nothing Goes Right,” with the legendary Rodney Dangerfield.

He gives tirelessly to local New England charities including serving as a Board Member of The Genesis Fund, the (Denis) Leary Firefighters Foundation and the Cam Neely Foundation.” Come have a few laughs, meet Lenny and join us for an exciting show at the NEPC Produce & Floral Expo!

Lenny Clarke is a comedian, but also was notable for his interest in politics. He famously ran for Mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, with a platform urging the performance of a profane synonym for sexual intercourse in regard to the Kennedy family. More recently he supported Scott Brown for US senate race in Massachusetts.

A sort of comic poet laureate for the white working class ethnic guy, it has been stated that Clarke was the most famous “saloon comic” in Boston during the 1980’s, during the peak of the Boston comedy scene.

Clarke also participated in a funny bit ripping Mel Gibson when he and Denis Leary learned that Red Sox First baseman Kevin Youkilis is Jewish.

Of particular interest to the trade, Lenny Clarke recently lost 144 lbs with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. This life-changing experience will bring a special perspective to his keynote at NEPC.

If you are in range and can possibly make it to this year’s NEPC event, we urge you to do so. You can register here.

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