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BRASELTON, GA -- The Southeast Produce Council celebrated its 10th anniversary the first weekend in November in part by recognizing many of the individuals who have helped make the council a success since it was founded in 1999.

Attendees also heard a presentation by consultant Ronnie De La Cruz, whose keynote address looked at how key events over the past 10 years have affected the council and the produce industry in general as well as some issues that may have an important impact over the next 10 years.

Board meetings, an opening gala party with entertainment by country music star Sammy Kershaw, the annual Ken Lanhardt Memorial Golf Tournament which helps raise money for charity, a sporting clays tournament and the closing president's reception and dinner dance rounded out the weekend for the 250 or so people who came together Nov. 5-7 here at the Chateau Elan Winery & Resort to help the Southeast Produce Council celebrate its milestone 10th anniversary.

SPC President Tom Page of Supervalu Inc. said that the council's membership stood at 540 members, up about 32 from last year. "Our goal for next year is 600," he said at the presidents dinner dance Saturday evening, Nov. 7. Financially speaking, he added, Your council is very sound.

Also at the presidents dinner dance, SPC Executive Director Terry Vorhees introduced many individuals from three areas -- SPC retail and foodservice members, SPC supplier members and others -- who have been instrumental to the growth and success of the council.

As Mr. Vorhees was concluding his remarks, he was surprised, to say the least, when Mr. Page took the microphone from him to announce that in recognition of Mr. Vorhees long and invaluable service, the council was presenting Mr. Vorhees with something he had long wished for: a cruise to Alaska next summer.

(An expanded version of this story will appear in the Nov. 16 issue of The Produce News.)