(March 12) PLEASANTON, Calif. — By all accounts from those who attended the first Fresh Produce & Floral Northern California Expo, it was a huge success.

“We’ve been holding the national expo in Southern California for 20 years and decided it was time to try a trimmed-down version up here that is geared to those people who can’t make it down to Anaheim,” said Linda Stine, president of the 42-year old, 700-member Fresh Produce & Floral Council, La Mirada.

Stine said March 7 that the one-day event — held just blocks away from Safeway Inc.’s headquarters — was a test to see if there would be enough interest from retailers and foodservice companies to bring the show back in 2008.

“We’ve already had three pre-signups for next year, and they didn’t even know if we’d be here,” she said. “One broker paid the non-refundable fee to secure 15 booths.”

She said the association will contact the 125 exhibitors, as well as retail and foodservice representatives who came to the expo to evaluate how well it was received.

Stine estimated that about 200 people came to the expo.

“Our committee will be making a decision on how they want to set it up in Northern California and what components they want to add to it,” Stine said of the possibility of expanding next year’s expo. “They may want to add keynote speakers or educational components or leave it just a show.”

Deanne Cagnacci, new product development manager for Capurro Farms LLC, Moss Landing, said she was very pleased with buyer response.

“Everybody that the association promised would be here showed up,” she said. “We just got in with Draegers Markets. They’re an upscale chain with three stores in San Mateo, Menlo Park and Los Altos.”