Archive for 'Conferences'

And Now For Some Real Innovation – Or Back to the Future!

PMA would  not be PMA without stacks of magazines being thrust upon one, as one wanders the exhibit halls.  One of the publications I came away with was the Canadian Grocer.  The September issue featured a couple of independent stores, the Sunripe stores in southwestern Ontario.  The Harvard Business Review has written up a formal case study about these guys.  The stores do not appear to have a website, but here is what the Canadian Grocer had to say about them:

“One of the little things, for instance,  is display.  Every evening after close, Sunripe employees spend upwards of an hour transporting trays of produce into a walk-in cooler to keep them fresh.  The next morning, the goods are brought back out and carefully restacked into perfect pyramids.  Always, the newest product goes to the bottom. To maintain that look throughout the day, staff are assigned a section of the store to tend.  At Sunripe it’s rare to see a display with that desperate rummaged-through look.”

The Good Old Days - A Stacked Produce Mirrorback

Fancy that!  Now where have I heard this concept before?  Ah yes, of course; WE used to do this!  Standard operating procedure before the event of front end weighing, multidecks and 7 day shopping!!!

Cherry Pie Flavoured Cherries Anyone?

Well, yes, it does not get more bizarre than that.  Having dried cherries for sale is obviously no longer cool.  The flavour needs to be enhanced.  What might we be able to use?  Ah, yes cherry pie sounds plausible, doesn’t it?

Whatever next?

And silly me – I always thought raisins are added to sweet breads to enhance the flavour and not the other way around?

Enza & Zespri at PMA

Naturally, both of these New Zealand produce heavyweights were present at PMA – and both were represented by Oppenheimer, who have a lot of expertise at that sort of thing but it was nevertheless interesting to observe this particular constellation, given who owns Oppenheimer.

Not just apples but a complete merchandise solution

 And just around the corner, but on the same stand:

Another slick performance by a Kiwi Icon

 Can we assume that cooperation has broken out across the board?

On the way to PMA, Orlando

Like many other produce afficionados, I made the annual pilgrimage to PMA’ s Fresh Summit  in the USA a couple of weeks ago. Orlando, Florida is not the easiest of destinations to reach from NZ – so, into LAX, through immigration, a quick terminal change, down to Dallas, Texas as there are no direct flights and a short seven hours later one lands in Orlando.  Add the twelve needed to get from Auckland to Los Angeles and it becomes fairly obvious why my enthusiasm for these kinds of excursions has its limits.  But as I have been, I feel it is only fair to add a few comments here about what I saw – in the spirit of learning of course!

Home away from home for US pooches

Having negotiated the hurdle otherwise known as the US Immigration Service in less than record time, I had to rush through the concrete jungle from Termninal 2 to Terminal 4 to catch my connecting flight. The bathrooms were not functioning that day in Termninal 2; ah well, it had to wait.

Dogs obviously enjoy a greater priority because smack bang between Terminals 2 and 4 this top notch facility for our four legged friends can be found.  Water bowl, real grass, bone shaped exercise area and water hydrant for leg lifting purposes.  They think of everything in the US.  Apart from having enough immigration officers at the gates were planes arrive that is.

International Horticultural Congress Lisbon

This congress, organised by the International Society for Horticultural Science takes place every four years – and happened to be in Lisbon this year.  To put this event into perspective – organisers were talking about 3,500 plus delegates having registered from all over the world and representing every conceivable branch of horticultural science. 

It had its moments – like when the bus driver refused to take us to our hotel after an evening function because he had been instructed to drop everyone off at one hotel hotel, rather than deliver all delegates to the actual hotel they were staying at – but hey, one can laugh about it today.

The congress programme consisted of both oral and poster presentations. A look at the size of the poster presentation area should assist in appreciating the scale of the congress.

Posters everywhere! Another way to get an appreciation for the scale of an event is usually the programme document and in this case also the published abstracts. Combined, these documents weighed about 5 kg and it took several hours to digest them and figure out which session one wanted to attend, where the session was being held, what one was therefore missing out on and how one could compensate for this situation. Not everyone is interested in every session. My key focus was on economics and value chain management whereas Massimo and Anne-Marie were concentrating on post harvest quality management and rotten fruit.    🙂

Posters, posters everywhere

But just in case one really did not know how to navigate through the documents on offer, the congress organisers had come up with a really new and innovative approach aimed at removing the guess work from the situation. How well they succeeded is another question all together – but have a look at this photo!  There goes the perception that scientists are ALWAYS very precise!