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The Southeast Produce Council reached back to its roots and recently unveiled its new RECIPE Roadshow June 13 at the site where the organization first began 20 years ago: The Atlanta State Farmers Market in Forest Park, GA.

“As we embark on our 20th anniversary year, we felt a great sense of nostalgia as we held the inaugural RECIPE Roadshow back at the Atlanta State Farmer’s Market. It was there that the Southeast Produce Council held its formation meeting in 1999,” said Executive Director and President David Sherrod. “Just like that meeting, our goal was to provide a platform for our members to network and learn from each other to become better professionals within our industry.”

Produce professionals gathered at the Market for educational presentations about local produce, weather implications, and “Produce 101”, which allowed for a specific discussion about each part of the produce PLOT (potatoes, lettuce, onions and tomatoes). Along with produce presentations, the attendees also engaged in five chef demos where they watched the preparation of a produce-based dish and got to indulge in delicious results.

Al Yancey, of Yancey Consulting, talked about the role of homegrown and local produce. He discussed the importance of buying local, and he engaged the audience by asking why we value local produce and what we consider local and homegrown.

Landon Long, of Old Hickory Logistics, and Larry Narwold, of Mann’s Packing Co., led a session on the importance of being aware of transportation and weather implications that could potentially hinder efficiency.

The Roadshow invited five chefs to come show off their work: David Woolley, Idaho Potato Commission; David Quick, Reinhart Foodservice; Chris Stavely, FreshPoint; Joshua Butler, US Foods; and Tony Schmidt, Performance Food Group. Their dishes ranged from croquettes, ceviche, and lobster salad with roasted tomatoes and onions, to beet salads, a warm potato salad, and so much more.

The grand finales was the PLOT presentation, led by Stanley Trout (Idaho Potato Commission), Narwold (lettuce), Brandon Parker (Shuman Produce, onions), and Yancey tomatoes).

The RECIPE Roadshow environment and experience took the attendees back to SEPC roots, allowing for the organization’s cornerstone principles: Networking, Innovations, Community and Education.

Sherrod hopes the RECIPE Roadshow format will continue.

“Our focus for the RECIPE Roadshow is on our foodservice members and the challenges they face each day,” he said. “We tackled local grown produce strategies, transportation laws and weather issues that have a direct impact on the end user. We believe this concept will grow each year as we travel to a major city within our marketing area sharing info on trends and handling procedures to increase sales and profits.”

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