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It’s already here. Ready or not, the holiday season is on us. Next week we’ll be heading over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house and a million other places and the month-long hubbub will be on.

Of course in our industry, we’ve been getting ready for the holidays for a while now. Everything that can be grown, picked, packed, shipped and marketed for Thanksgiving already has been or is in the process.

So we thought: What better time to take a moment to step back and think about what we’re all thankful for before the holiday whirlwind starts? We asked folks from across the industry to share what’s on their minds and in their hearts as we start to look back on 2017 and get ready for the year to come.

We’ll go first…

Chip Carter, Editor & Publisher
Southeast Produce Weekly

I’ll keep it short, something those of you who know me no doubt believe I’m incapable of. But two things jump to mind straight off.

(1) I’m incredibly grateful that Irma didn’t blow us and ours away here at HQ in Tampa, FL. While many around us were suffering – and many still are, you can help through organizations like The Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse – we were spared so much as a nick. Makes you shake your head in awe and wonder (and still feel a little bit guilty). What you see in the picture above is what I see in my backyard every night. I’m really thankful it’s all still there.

(2) We launched Southeast Produce Weekly at the SEPC Southern Exposure show in Orlando March 3 of this year. We knew friends had our backs as this venture got rolling. But we had no idea the response would be so positive and immediate. There is nothing more uncertain in 2017 than the launch of a new media company (except maybe farming). Your strong support has made that much less uncertain.

Keep touching base and letting us know when you have news to share. We’ll keep coming where you live and work to see what you’re up to. Starting soon, we’ll also be sharing those stories in some interesting new formats (how’s that for a tease? More details coming very soon…)

Thank you all so much – I’m blessed to call many of you friend.

 

Faye Westfall, SEPC Chair
DiMare Fresh

It goes without saying that “Faith, Family and Friends” are what I am most thankful for, but I also am very Thankful for the men and women who are serving or have served in Armed Forces so that we can lead the lives we have in this great country. I am Thankful to work for DiMare, a “Family Owned” company that puts employees first. I am Thankful to be a part of Southeast Produce Council that seems like “Family.” One of my favorite thoughts: What if we woke up today, and only had what we thanked God for yesterday?

 

Cathy Burns, CEO
Produce Marketing Association

I’m thankful, at this special time of year, for people who are willing to share. The PMA members, especially the 400+ volunteer leaders that guide the association and our industry are beyond generous when it comes to sharing their time, insights and expertise. Whether they are shaping a new vision for the future, planning amazing networking events, or bringing their unique skills to address industry challenges and opportunities, our volunteers are dedicated to improving themselves, their businesses, and, most importantly for me, our association and industry.

 

Nick Dulcich
Dulcich and Sons/Sunlight International

I am thankful for the 3000 Pretty Lady Vineyard  employees  that harvest our grapes, without you we cannot exist. God bless each one of you and your families.

 

Nicole Lipson
WestRock

I’m thankful for blue skies, sunny days and a little rain, which I think most growers are thankful for too.

 

Gary Wishnatzki
Wish Farms

In addition to family, I am thankful for Dr. Vance Whitaker, at the University of Florida, focusing his breeding efforts on great tasting berries.

 

Tim Forseth, SEPC Board
Robinson Fresh

I love this industry and its people, it makes me proud to be a part of it. I am very thankful for organizations like the SEPC, foodbanks that help distribute to those in need, and for my company’s encouragement to be involved.

 

Molly Edenfield
Southeast Produce Council

I am thankful for my family, but not just my relatives, my entire SEPC family. I have been blessed to grow with this organization for the past 2 years, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities, friendships, and love I have received from everyone!

 

 

Tami Long
Nash Produce

This is always an interesting question this time of year. Of course, everyone says family and friends, but I think we should all be thankful for love. Lately, people just seem to be angry with each other, and maybe even themselves. If we just keep love in our hearts, wouldn’t the world be a better place? Love is a powerful emotion that we just do not utilize enough. So, I am thankful that there is love in the world and my life!

 

Brooke Britt, Director of Marketing
Southern Produce Distributors, Inc.

Although I have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, I am especially grateful for my newfound family at and my friends in the sweet potato community. I feel blessed to be a part of an industry that plays such a vital role in feeding the world nutritional food throughout the year, but especially during the holiday season. I am proud to tell consumers that when they enjoy their sweet potato casserole or candied yams on Thanksgiving, that a NC grower, packer, and shipper more than likely provided the sweet potatoes to make their dishes complete. I appreciate everyone’s dedication and diligence throughout the entire process; to those that farm, dig, inspect, pack, ship, sell, buy, and love sweet potatoes…thank you!

DMA Solutions
Dallas-Based Marketing Gurus

We are grateful for the people who grow fresh food and to have the honor of working in an industry that is on the right side of good! – Dan’l Mackey Almy, Megan Zweig, Marci Allen, Mackenzie Wortham, Beth Atkinson, Kendra Knieriem, Lacey Jenison, Sarah Bockholt, Marissa Baurys, Sharon Fox, Laura Hartman, Shannon Wells, Leslie Loris, Lexi Cassidy 

Adam Brady
Golden Sun Marketing

I’m thankful for the opportunity to work in an industry filled with great stories and even better people dedicated to providing the country with delicious and nutritious foods.

 

Amanda Keefer
Produce for Kids

I am thankful that day in and day out that I am able to make a difference in a world faced with so much uncertainty. I have been led down a path that allows me to help not only my own family, but help other families lead a healthier life by learning more about fruits and vegetables.

 

Sean McBride
DSM Strategic Communications

I am thankful for the growers, food companies, supply chain professionals and hard-working men and women who provide us with year-round access to safe, healthy, affordable and convenient foods. The food value chain has been able to adapt to meet the needs of constantly-evolving consumers, while keeping the cost of at-home food to less than 7% of disposable income. They are the unsung heroes of the miracle that is today’s integrated, truly global food system.

 

Blair Greenhill, SEPC Board
Nickey Gregory Company

I’m thankful for a strong and vibrant produce industry that keeps us employed, fed, and interested in our professions. Oh and don’t forget God, family, Clemson football, the SEPC, and the DH [EDITOR’S NOTE — Pretty sure he’s talking about baseball there — Blair, let us know if you’re not…].

Erica Barajas
Boyette Brothers Produce LLC

We can face many challenges over the course of a sweet potato growing season. That is why Boyette Brothers is thankful for our hard-working and dedicated team as well as this fall’s beautiful sweet potato crop!

 

Lexi Marek
FarmHer TV/FarmHer.com

I am thankful for opportunities. I just graduated college and have my dream job. I get to go home to my family’s farm and work on the land that five generations of my family before me has worked. Not many 22-year-olds have this lifestyle in the country or around the world and I’m so thankful for the life I live.

 

The Southern Valley Family
In addition to celebrating our 30th anniversary, Southern Valley has a multitude of reasons to be thankful for this past year.  We’ve had the opportunity to grow our team in order to meet or exceed the needs of our customers.  Related to this growth, innovations in our processes as well as system integrations have forged new levels of efficiency and effectiveness that enabled us to reach new customers.  Bottom line, we’ve been incredibly blessed this past year and feel thankful for the continued opportunity to secure and build relationships in our endeavor to provide premier produce to all segments of the economy.

Laura Hearn, Co-Founder
Glean, LLC

I’m thankful for holiday traditions – old and new!  My family has created many over the years that I am proud to carry on.  One of our more recently started traditions our “turkey trot” running race on Thanksgiving morning around my parent’s neighborhood.  We invite neighbors and friends and it’s a great way to get up early, get some exercise and spend time together before a day filled with eating!

Stacy Lyn Harris
Chef/Author/GameandGarden.com

I am thankful for the freedom we have in the United States. This freedom makes it possible for me educate my kids in truth and teach them to contribute to society in meaningful ways, both big and small. I’m super thankful to have a family that supports and helps me to produce content that encourages people to make the most of what they have and teach people to lived off the land! What a great God we have and an awesome country!

 

 

Andrew Scott
Nickey Gregory Company

I’m thankful for my awesome wife Jennifer and our 3 girls as well as another successful year here at the Nickey Gregory Company!

 

 

Jenni Kight
SPW/Stouthouse Media

It’s the month of Thankfulness and we are all echoing similar sentiments: thankfulness for family and friends, the loved ones that surround us, and the places we can all gather to share sweet moments. For those things I am truly thankful. However, today I am most grateful for my career. I am blessed to work for a family owned company that sees me not as a number, but as a part of the family. I’ve been privileged to travel to wonderful places and meet some truly amazing and talented people, my personal favorite being within the produce industry. And each and every day I get to wake up to a job that is interesting, challenging, and exciting! So, while I look forward to a few days off with the family I am so blessed to call my own, I also look forward to the next client, the next project, the next conference, and the next time I can gather with the incredible people around this industry that have become like family. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jake Hallman
SPW/Stouthouse Media

What am I thankful for? 5D Mark IV autofocus and Jenni Kight.

Chip Carter (again)
SPW

Definitely thankful for our hyper-talented video team, Jenni Kight and Jake Hallman – thanks guys, for making us look great!

 

Dante Galeazzi, CEO/President
Texas International Produce Association

I’m thankful for the comraderie of our industry, the passion of our leaders, and the support our companies give one another. Although we may be competitors, we’re not so far detached from one another. As a whole, we do see the greater good and we come together willingly and eagerly to move our businesses as one to achieve a higher purpose for all.

 

Teri Miller, Past SEPC Chair
Fresh Market

I am most thankful for a God that blesses me each day when I don’t deserve any blessings. I am thankful for my husband who advises me, encourages me, but most of all loves me despite my many flaws. I am thankful to be a part of the Produce Industry and how you support one another – thank you for your advice,  thank you for your support, and thank you for your love!

Kimberly Flores
Seald Sweet/Greenyard Logistics

I am definitely thankful for family, #1 (ALWAYS). Also thankful for this great country and the opportunities, freedoms and luxuries we have. No matter how crazy things can get with politics and challenges we face, we still live in the best country in the world. I’m also thankful to have a great job in the agriculture industry which feeds America day in & day out. I am thankful for the farmers who work diligently to fuel this industry, giving their all, even in the face of adversity, like this year with the hurricanes and fight against disease in Florida. I am thankful for all of this and more, like sunrise walks on the beach with my sweetheart and especially the love shared with family and friends. Most importantly I’m thankful for the Good Lord above who provides it all.

 

 

Dave Yeager
Farm Fresh Direct

My son is cancer free…

 

 

 

Amen. Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts with us. We wish you all a blessed, safe and happy holiday season.SPW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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