Organic Produce Summit tarde talk

OPS trade talk

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OPS trade talk

Over 1,800 participants at the Organic Produce Summit (OPS) in Monterey, CA, surpassed 2022 participation by 300. The July 12-13 event was held at the Monterey Convention Center.

There were roughly 170 exhibitors. The exhibition was only open from 12:30-5:00 p.m. on the afternoon of July 13. Attendees didn’t miss the chance to see the latest, so aisles were crowded to the point that at times it was difficult to walk. Exhibitors indicated they were very pleased by the traffic.

As reported on July 14, the show opened July 12 with Salinas Valley field tours. An opening reception that night gave attendees a chance to chat with old friends and make new business contacts.

Trade talk at the Summit of course ranged from person to person. But one conversation thread was that Mexican grape movement is backed up in Nogales warehouses. And that Mexican mangos will be abundant this summer. The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) is dealing with resolving a port strike in Vancouver.

The CPMA is also heading a bi-national effort to deal with improved sustainability in produce packaging. A Peruvian entrepreneur is organizing ginger growers on the Andes’ eastern slopes to build a good trade for impoverished communities there. Watch FreshFruitPortal in days to come for more details on these interesting topics. 

Related articles: OPS: Lasering weeds and other developments

An educational session attended by FreshFruitPortal addressed the future of controlled environment agriculture. There is concern about many recent major failures in the category, but there is optimism that shortcomings can be addressed with improved, more carefully planned management.

Another session reviewed the value of sustainability compliance. Roland Harmon, Walmart’s director of global food sourcing explained that Walmart’s rigorous data input is related to the firm’s goals to reduce carbon emissions and boost other plant friendly moves in years to come. Panelists from Grimmway Farms and Taylor Farms were supportive of the good intentions. But here was a sense that such buyer requirements are not only difficult but very expensive to manage, adding to food costs.

As FreshFruitPortal highlighted before the Summit, Ryan Begin was the first keynote speaker, addressing how his firm, Diver, is working nationally to reduce food waste. The second keynote presentation was a panel discussion with retailers Misfits Market, Sprouts and Grocery Outlet discussing their practices to boost organic produce sales.

In 2024, OPS will be back at the Monterey Conference Center on July 10-11.

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