“I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah…”
— Little Feat,
For the last nine years, I have burned up the highways and byways of North America from my home base in Tampa as an editor and video producer first with an international produce trade publication and now as the publisher of Southeast Produce Weekly and as a correspondent with the RFD-TV Network.
I’ve busted watermelons in the fields of the Rio Grande Valley and eaten Vidalia onions straight out of the ground in Georgia. I’ve seen hothouses in Canada and Mexico and smelled Gilroy, CA in the summer when the garlic’s in the air (smells like money). I’ve hit all the big shows from Atlanta to Chicago to L.A. but I’ve spent way more time than that in small towns and places where the nearest hotel is so far away it just makes sense to stay with hosts who long ago became friends (Thanks, folks).
I’ve been in university laboratories looking at what innovations are coming next and talked to legislators who are making the rules to govern that. I’ve learned the difference between a sweet potato and a yam. I know what a jackfruit is. I’ve ridden a ship filled with South African citrus up the Delaware River to Philadelphia and watched in wonder as fresh fruit poured forth from the hold on the 4th of July.
Like the Johnny Cash song says, I’ve been everywhere, man.
It’s been an astonishing and eye opening educational experience to see this remarkable network that you all have constructed, to go out and meet you where you work and live and to see just where the food comes from and how it gets to our tables.
But as a native Georgian, the son of a small-town Southern preacher, I’m happy to be spending more time in my part of the world with my people.
I spent the first 20 years of my career in the mainstream media as a syndicated columnist with The Chicago Tribune, a columnist with The Washington Post and a writer and video producer with AOL. Even now I still hang a shingle out occasionally at The Huffington Post (read some of my ramblings here if you like). I also still pick a little music (thanks to everybody who’s downloaded a song or bought an album or watched a video; I’m willing to give it away for free and do, but I indeed appreciate your attention).
But my focus these days is the remarkable story of the Southeast produce industry and where we fit in to this amazing deal that literally keeps the world fed.
I’m still out there on the road, and I’m still heading where you live. There’s still a whole lot for me to learn. My phone is always on, my door is always open, and I do hope you won’t hesitate to let me hear from you about ways I can make Southeast Produce Weekly the perfect crossroads for us all to meet up and get our business done with Southern accents.