(Sept. 25, 3:05 p.m.) NAPLES, Fla. — The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association thanked a Southeastern retailer for its support of the state’s berries.

At the association’s 65th yearly convention, the group recognized The Fresh Market Inc., Greensboro, N.C., as its merchandiser of the year for its purchases of Florida strawberries.

Gary Wishnatzki, president of Wishnatzki Farms, Plant City, in a statement called The Fresh Market an important supporter of Florida’s strawberry program.

Wishnatzki, who was not at the convention, said the chain store also supports Florida’s blueberries.

Ray Berry, co-founder of The Fresh Market, wasn’t able to accept the award at the association’s Sept. 22 awards luncheon.

The convention, through the FFVA’s Specialty Crop Foundation, raised $40,790 to help immigrant farmworkers and their children during a Sept. 22 silent auction that benefited the Redlands Christian Migrant Association.