(Nov. 14) The world is getting smaller; it’s a global marketplace; competition comes from all over the world; free trade of the Americas; blah, blah, blah . . .

It seems the produce industry has been hearing for years about the international nature of its business, and while some companies were involved in the import-export game and retail stores carried plenty of foreign product, the concept still felt distant.

Not anymore.

Anyone who walked the expo floor at Fresh Summit 2005 couldn’t help but notice an international flavor. Whether it was the enormous MexBest pavilion, the growing Chilean presence or the sizable number of Australian retailers, the PMA world is indeed getting smaller.

Unfortunately, fewer attended this year than last, but PMA says that’s typical for an Eastern show, compared with one in California. Story, Page A1

Some of PMA’s recent tweaks seem to work. Limiting the number of expo hours on the final day makes it feel less empty and adds a little urgency.

The smaller number of workshops appeared to be better attended.

PMA’s Fresh Ideas Marketplace generates a good buzz, but this year, too much focus was on floral for many people’s taste.

Produce companies used to use Fresh Summit to unveil new products, and while that’s still the case, the show has become somewhat of a test market itself.

There’s nothing wrong with that because most of the estimated 15,500 attendees are produce experts, but they’re also consumers.

The best way for Fresh Summit to remain relevant to the industry is to change with the industry. It’s doing that nicely.