(Feb. 17) Commodity boards and private companies alike shared their products with members of the foodservice industry, retailers and future chefs at the fourth annual Produce First! American Menus Initiative.

The Jan. 25 event was held at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus in St. Helena, Calif. Attendance was invitation-only, and included foodservice representatives from national chains, supermarket representatives and members of the sponsor organizations.

The purpose of the annual event is to let chefs experiment with the sponsors’ commodities to create new menu items for restaurants and other foodservice venues. At the end of the day-long event, attendees taste the menu creations at a dinner prepared by Culinary Institute of America chefs.

At least fifteen new recipes came out of this year’s gathering, said Jill Le Brasseur, communications specialist for the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Wilmington, Del. Produce First! is hosted by PBH and the culinary institute.

Following the event every year, PBH distributes the Produce First! American Menus Initiative report, a compilation of the new recipe ideas. This year, Le Brasseur said, the institute is taking over distribution of the report, and she expects it to be ready by May or June. PBH will have an electronic copy of the report available after the culinary institute releases it.

This was the fourth year for the event. Sponsors were the Almond Board of California, Modesto; Bush Bros. & Co., Knoxville, Tenn.; the California Fig Advisory Board, Fresno; Dole Packaged Foods, a foodservice division of Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Food Co. Inc.; Grimmway Farms, Bakersfield, Calif.; the Hass Avocado Board, Irvine, Calif.; the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition and Research Education Foundation, Davis, Calif.; National Peanut Board, Atlanta; National Watermelon Board, Orlando; Nunhems USA, Parma, Idaho; and Sun-Maid Growers of California, Kingsburg.