Nearly 300 exhibitors will be greeting attendees at this year’s Southern Exposure March 3-5 in Hollywood, FL, and among the exhibit booths are numerous members of the onion industry, including grower/shippers, marketers and ancillary operations such as packaging and transportation.
The event, dubbed “Produce in Paradise,” is being held at the ocean-side Diplomat Resort and Spa and kicks off Thursday, March 3, with the Tom Page Golf Classic and Awards Reception at the Jacaranda Golf Club. That day will also include committee meetings and the STEP-UPP and STARS Dinner.
STEP-UPP is a program developed as a learning experience for “high potential retail and foodservice produce professionals,” with five training sessions planned for 2016. Southern Exposure in Hollywood is the first venue of the year. STARS is SEPC’s scholarship program available to ag majors in Southeast-based land grant universities. The goal of the program is to “recruit top students and to introduce them to job opportunities in the produce industry.”
Friday will see exhibitor set-ups and two educational workshops, the first a field trip video running from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. and featuring Shuman Produce, Inc. in Reidsville, GA, and J&J Family of Farms in Loxahatchee, FL. In-person visits by the growers will be part of the workshop as well.
The second session runs from 10 to 11:15 a.m. and will feature author Michael Moss, whose “SALT SUGAR FAT: How Food Giants Hooked Us” hit number one on the NYT Bestseller list. Moss is a Pulitzer Prize winner for investigative reporting, and he will address the issue of processed foods.
The day also includes a luncheon, reception for youngsters, VIP reception and Opening Gala Party.
Saturday’s exhibition runs from 12:30 to 6 p.m., with the Keynote Luncheon leading into the afternoon. Speaker this year is Jimmy Johnson, “architect of the Dallas Cowboys’ consecutive Super Bowl wins” and also former Miami Dolphins coach. Johnson is also a member of Fox NFL Sunday.
The Gator Moon Lounge will host the closing reception for the event.