Some things never change at a QPMA convention — the beautiful surroundings, exceptional potential for networking, plenty of food for thought, good food to eat and lots of fun.

This year’s convention returns to the Fairmont Manoir Richelieu in La Malbaie, Quebec, built in the early 1900s when ships sailed past on the St. Lawrence River on their way to the Atlantic Ocean.

There will be professional development seminars, a farewell speech by outgoing president Marie Gosselin, president and chief executive officer of major Quebec greenhouse grower Les Serres du St-Laurent Inc., and a welcome speech by new president Sammy Cacciatore, president of Sun Grape Marketing Inc., Quebec and Visalia, Calif.

A pillar of the industry, another tradition, will also be honored. This year’s honoree will be Bernadette Hamel, vice president of national procurement of produce for Montreal-based Metro Richelieu Inc.

QPMA is announcing its third intern for the annual Cultivating the Next Generation, which gives young produce professionals ages 18-35 the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the industry by observing meetings, attending events and sharing their opinions on issues and projects of QPMA.

Five finalists were interviewed in July, and QPMA executive director Sophie Perreault said she’s pleased with the variety of backgrounds the applicants represent.

“The first year it was mainly growers,” she said, “but this year we also had applicants from wholesale, retail and a brokerage. It’s going to be a tough decision.”

Extra activities include a trip to Baie-Sainte-Catherine, an hour away, for a whale-watching expedition. Others will climb aboard a scenic train for a ride along the St. Lawrence.

This year’s soirée has a blue and white nautical theme.

The convention will end with a party in the new president’s suite.