On May 15, the Eastern Produce Council will, for the first time in its 46-year history, hold its annual May dinner outside of its normal geographic range. This year’s event will be held at the new Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, which opened its doors in June of 2011.
John McAleavy, executive director of the EPC, told The Produce News that for the past couple of years the board and members have been striving to become more of a regional association, rather than representing produce professionals only in New York and New Jersey.
“We have members in 30 states in the U.S., and in Canada and Mexico,”said Mr. McAleavy, “so it’s a natural evolvement to branch out to other areas. We have introduced ourselves and the council to all of the retailers that are serviced by the new Philadelphia market, and so planning our May meeting at the facility is a perfect match with our current efforts.”
Mr. McAleavy said that the EPC dinner meeting will be held in the concourse of the PWPM, inside of tents that will be heated to compensate for the temperature-controlled, high-tech facility.
“There will also be a market tour prior to the cocktail party reception,” he added. “Then there will be presentations by our sponsor, Nasoya, and by officials of the PWPM, who are also sponsors of the dinner meeting.”
Mr. McAleavy said that a bus will be available in northern New Jersey for people who want to go to the PWPM for the day and participate in the tour. Those interested should contact the EPC office for specific details.
The tour is from 4-5 p.m., the cocktail reception is from 5-6 p.m., and then a Taste of Philadelphia-style dinner will be served.
“We are working on the menu now, and it’s going to be very tasty,” said Mr. McAleavy. “It’s going to be a great and fun evening, and we want a big turnout, so we urge everyone to register now.”
Tad Thompson, business development manager for the PWPM, said that Sonny DiCrecchio, the president and chief executive officer of the PWPM, is coordinating the event with the EPC.
“We feel this is an excellent venue for the council because it has been working toward expanding its reach south to Washington, D.C., and further east,” said Mr. Thompson. “Some tenants at the market have been involved with the EPC for many years, and they are happy that the council is expanding its reach in Philadelphia.
“At the same time, we want to become more involved with the EPC, so this is a win-win for everyone.”
Mr. Thompson said there could be as many as 200 people at the May 15 dinner meeting. Although plans had not been finalized when he spoke to The Produce News in late April, he said that there may be one tent erected for cocktail hour and a separate tent for dinner.
“The temperature in the concourse is 50 degrees because of our cold chain, so we’ll have space heaters inside the tents to keep people comfortable,” he said.
Mr. McAleavy noted that there is a lot of great buzz going on about the EPC holding the dinner at the new facility, and everyone agrees that it’s a great venue for the produce industry to gather for a social event.