The TexaSweet Citrus Marketing Inc. is hitting the road to spread awareness of Texas citrus.


Thanks to a $100,000 grant awarded by the Texas Department of Agriculture, the Mission, Texas-based organization has the means to do educational programs in major cities in Texas.


Eleisha Ensign, executive director, and Kymberly Meade, marketing coordinator, plan to host weeklong events at 20 schools in Dallas and Austin. Grapefruit deliveries and broadcast, print and digital media outreaches are scheduled.


Ensign and Meade also plan to do eight in-store retail sampling events.


“We’re also doing a food blogger dinner in each market,” Ensign said. “It will be a busy week.”


Ensign and Meade also plan to do a five-city media tour and provide samples at the Las Vegas and San Antonio Rock ’N Roll Marathons, fundraising races.


New this year is a food editor’s dinner in New York.


A dinner is a good opportunity to network with food writers and build a rapport.


“We’ve had a lot of payoff doing this,” Ensign said. “But it does take some time.”


TexaSweet has all new materials, including a consumer gift box, educational materials and a press kit.


For retailers, TexaSweet has a new buyer’s guide CD. It contains a condensed shippers list on the packaging and an expanded format inside.


Also included are high resolution photos, graphics and logos for use in advertising.


“We also have pre-designed recipe inserts that retailers can just drop into their ad pages,” she said. “It’s really useful for them to have that ready.”


The gift box is used for fruit sent for promotional purposes, including to food writers and consumers who win contests sponsored by TexaSweet.


“It’s a full color, digital processed box,” Ensign said. “You don’t see a whole lot of that.”


The new press kit is compact, but packed with information.


“We’re doing a lot with food writers and food bloggers,” Ensign said. “We really wanted to have a press kit that was small and compact and has a lot of information but not overwhelmingly so.”


Little investment goes a long way for Web-based giveaways, Ensign said.


Consumers can visit the TexaSweet website or Facebook page to sign up for monthly giveaways, including one for a Kitchen Aid stand mixer.


“People love this giveaway,” Ensign said. “We’re doing one a month throughout the season.”


Last season, TexaSweet gave away more than 550,000 pieces of materials for its children’s educational programs.


This year, Ensign said she’s planning for more.


“I ordered 700,000 kid’s activity sheets and expect to give them all out,” she said.


For teachers and school foodservice, TexaSweet also has 18- by 24-inch ceiling hangers, distributed in a set of three.


They say “Texas Grapefruit is Fun, Sweet and Healthy.”