(UPDATED COVERAGE, 6 p.m.) VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Attendees at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s 85th annual convention and trade show raved about the location near the water at Canada Place, and a record turnout suggests that, coupled with the business opportunities at the show, was a successful combination.

Almost 3,300 people attended the convention May 12-14, a 25% increase over the last show in Vancouver, in 2006 — which is an increase of 600 people from the Toronto convention in 2009, according to the CPMA’s post-show analysis. In 2008, 2,100 people attended the CPMA convention in Calgary.

UPDATED: CPMA reports record turnout in Vancouver

Chris Koger

Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Peak of the Market's booth on the expo floor at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association's Convention and Trade Show featured a wall of fresh produce highlighting the association's new Fruits and Veggies - Mix it up! consumption campaign. Peak of the Market president and chief executive officer Larry McIntosh said it took at least 25 man hours - plus touch ups each morning of the trade show - to make the display.

UPDATED: CPMA reports record turnout in Vancouver

Chris Koger

International Herbs Ltd.'s Caprese Rosemary Skewers

Those numbers suggest a trend of increased growth at the show, which is known in the industry for being cosier and less hectic than national industry shows in the U.S.

The show featured the association’s new consumer marketing campaign, Fruits and Veggies — Mix it up! with 17 exhibitors offering samples of recipes inspired to increase fruit and vegetable consumption under the Mix it up! banner. International Herbs Ltd., Surrey, British Columbia, won the recipe contest with its Caprese Rosemary Skewer .

“The strength of Mix it up! is our membership,” said Melanie Richer, CPMA’s senior manager of marketing and communications, in a news release. “We’re excited to move the program forward and we’re looking forward to working with our members to make that happen.”

Produce industry leaders were recognized at the May 14 awards brunch:

  • Carmina Halstead of Norfolk Organics, received the Mary FitzGerald Award.
  • Rick Wallis, The Oppenheimer Group; Michael Mockler, Thrifty Foods; and Art Heppner, Overwaitea Food Group; were recognized with the CPMA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Best booth competition winners are:

  • Sunkist Growers Inc., best island booth;
  • Mackay and Hughes (Earth Fresh), best inline booth; and
  • MexBest, best pavilion.

VegPro International, Best New Product Showcase Winner, for Fresh Attitude Ready-to-Eat Salads .