For the first time, the Eastern Produce Council plans to host its own produce trade show and conference.

Eastern Produce Council to host first-ever conference

The New York Produce Show and Conference, scheduled for Nov. 9-11 at the Hilton New York Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Manhattan, is expected to draw hundreds of attendees, said John McAleavey, the council’s executive director.

Planning for the conference is in its embryo stages and McAleavey said the group has started mailing materials to the organization’s 380 members in 17 states.

In its 43 years of existence, the Short Hills, N.J.-based trade group, which focuses on retail, foodservice, brokers, sales agents and grower-shipper members in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, has never hosted a show, McAleavey said.

He said that’s because retailers and distributors host numerous shows.

“By the time you get done, how many shows can you attend in a year?” McAleavey said. “The climate, however, has changed a bit. We have been thinking about this and we want to spread our membership out. People who have heard about it want to sign up already. That’s the type of response we have been getting. With the timing and the location, the whole deal just seems to fit.”

The conference schedule includes a trade show and workshop sessions as well as tours of the Hunt’s Point Terminal Market in the Bronx or the Philadelphia Regional Produce Market.

McAleavey said he expects large retailer attendance. He said some groups have been talking about bringing their produce managers to the event by the busload.

McAleavey said the association’s board of directors want to expand its focus and membership beyond the metropolitan New York region.

Find more information on the council here