Bryan Silbermann, Produce Marketing Association
Bryan Silbermann, Produce Marketing Association

As we reflect on another year in produce, this industry has much to be thankful for.

For me, I’m grateful for having the greatest job in the world. I get to promote the beauty and goodness of produce and floral on behalf of the most passionate and dedicated people on earth.

I’m thankful for Produce Marketing Association members around the globe who grow, harvest, pack, market and distribute the freshest, most wholesome foods available — and work tirelessly on advancing food safety to also make fruits and vegetables the safest.

We annually contact industry members to find out what they’re most thankful for, and here’s what they said.

“My first thought is my family, thankful that I have a job, and, of course, the list goes on. Then it suddenly hits me that I’m thankful for my all my coworkers, from our transportation department and our truck drivers who pick up the produce.

“They not only get it to us on time, but they also look at the produce to make sure it meets our criteria. Our dock workers who get to work when many of us are still sleeping; they too make sure the produce is the best quality that goes to our customers.

“Our delivery drivers who greet our customers with their smiling faces. Our sales staff who pounds the pavement telling all the potential customers our story. All the office support staff who makes things happen from behind the scenes.

“This also includes the owner, who works alongside all of us. We are a group of many different personalities who pull together to feed people. My co-workers are an awesome group, and I’m thankful for them.”

— Louise Carter, sales manager, Kodiak Fresh Produce, Phoenix.

“This has been an amazing year. I have been blessed to have a fantastic career that opens new doors every day, such as the move this May from business development of PrimusLabs to vice president of business development, sales and marketing of NCSI Americas.

“But most importantly, I have two new additions to my growing family. In November, we finalized the adoption of two beautiful baby boys.”

— Matt Regusci, southwest vice president of business development, sales and marketing, NCSI Americas Inc., Arroyo Grande, Calif.

 “Looking back at 2012, I am grateful for my family, their continued health and wellness, and their support in all that I do. As the world keeps changing (albeit to the negative) my family continues to grow closer to one another, and we function as a cohesive unit most of the time.

“My acid test … when I walk in the door after work, it’s like flipping a switch where work shuts off and the fun begins!”

— Ralph Schwartz, director of category management and value-added marketing, Potandon Produce LLC, Idaho Falls, Idaho

“I’m grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to all who are affiliated with the produce industry — an industry that has taken great care in producing the fruits and vegetables desired by the U.S. consumer (us included).

"Our industry is one that has great compassion for the welfare of the consumer. I am also grateful for having an opportunity to be part of a professional organization that is constantly looking for better ways to add value to the consumer.

"We live in a country that is the best in the world. Many countries ship and develop their produce for the U.S market.

However, it is the persistence and determination of the individuals within our industry that protect and support the U.S. consumer with the creation of best practices for safe produce — something I am proud to be a part of.”

— Victor Robelet, director of business development, Carlson Airflo Merchandising Systems, Brooklyn Park, Minn.

“As I reflect on 2012, it was fast-paced and a year full of events, both personally and professionally. One can never undervalue the importance of family, friends and health, and this by far is at the top of the personal list.

"It’s important to note there is always someone having a worse day than me and by remembering this, it somehow makes my day a little better.

"On a professional level, I am most grateful for a successful farming year and knowing what we do truly affects the people of this world.

"We have all heard ‘No Farms, No Food,’ and this story cannot be told enough. It is through the dedication, long hours, tremendously hard work and commitment from the farmers, farm staff and teams of people that truly make a difference in our world.

"We should celebrate their achievements every day and be thankful for those teams of people who provide us healthy, nutritious and affordable food for our families.”

— Glen Reynolds, national director for produce sales, Black Gold Potato Sales, Grand Forks, N.D.

Tell us what you’re thankful for by leaving a comment on our Facebook page or PMA Xchange, an exclusive online community for the fresh produce industry.

Also, visit our YouTube channel to hear a message of thanks from PMA staff to members around the globe.

Bryan Silbermann is president and chief executive officer of the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association.

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