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Industry members remember fallen SPC leader Terry Vorhees

The passing of Terry Vorhees, executive director and co-founder of the Southeast Produce Council, at age 64 the evening of July 30 sparked an outpouring of grief and respect from stunned peers and colleagues as the news spread rapidly through the produce industry.

The Produce News reached out to industry influencers and Southeast Produce Council members and leaders overnight for comment on the loss of a leader.VorheesTerry Vorhees

"Terry is the testament of great character to me. At times, he was like a father, brother and mentor to me. But most of all, he was my friend. God has blessed us all by sharing him with us." — David Sherrod, assistant executive director, Southeast Produce Council

"I first met Terry at the 2001 SPC Valentine Dinner Dance at Chateau Elan, when he was working two jobs, including being our executive director. I've watched over the years the success Terry brought to the council and the year-over-year growth. He had a great touch for the attention to details and he was very organized. What a great leader. He will be sorely missed and never forgotten." — Andrew Scott, The Nickey Gregory Co., SPC president

"I was very blessed to serve with Terry in the Southeast Produce Council for eight years. He was known and respected for his integrity and doing the right thing, and obviously he had terrific vision years ago helping start the council. The success and fellowship and brotherhood we have enjoyed, people are seeing that and it's led to the birth of several other regional shows. That's testament to his leadership and integrity, and anybody who knew him for any period of time grew to love and respect him as a person and in the produce industry. He was very good at understanding what needed to be done as a council and he was very good at bringing us along with him. There are just a handful of people who come along so often and change the industry and have such an impact on it and Terry Vorhees was one of those people. He changed us all for the better. The success of the SPC is absolutely pointed right back to him." — John Shuman, Shuman Produce, SPC past president

As a longtime friend of Terry's, only a person with his organizing skills, his sense for details and his true love for the business could have developed the Southeast Produce Council into what it is today. He was one of my best friends and I will miss him." — Tom Page, Supervalu (retired), SPC past president

"Terry was one of the driving forces and believed a produce council in the Southeast could be a valuable part of doing business for grower-shippers and retailers. When you look at the success of SPC, it is built on one single 'Terry Principle' -- everyone is equal, no matter how many acres you farm or how many retail stores you have. Serving with Terry as a board member and a past president, I got the opportunity to grow as a person with his guidance. Over the years, Terry and I developed a friendship that I will always cherish." — Rick Estess, SPC past president/trustee

"Terry is now at home with our Lord and Savior. We will miss him dearly." — Al Finch, Florida Classic Growers, past SPC president

"Some 20-plus years ago, Terry started calling on me as he represented the California Tree Fruit Agreement, when I worked wholesale in Nashville, TN. He was always a great human being, efficient, fun to be around, informative and knowledgeable. I remember when I first went to work for a West Coast lettuce shipper a few years later, Terry and I found ourselves in Virginia doing a training session. He discussed his thoughts of putting a Southeast Produce Council together and asked for my support. I was all for it and as it took root, I was lucky enough to get involved that inaugural year. In those first years, the regional councils would meet during the PMA and have discussions on how and what each one was doing. Terry and I took notes and it was no time at all until, with the help of many -- and Terry's forethought -- the SPC became a diamond among regional organizations. He will be missed by family, friends, SPC members and those who will in the future make the Southeast Produce Council even better, not knowing how Terry had a dream and drove himself -- and those who would listen -- to be much better than they ever thought they could be. There will be true void in our hearts, but in our minds we can remember the laugh and smile that lit this council." — Larry Narwold, Mann Packing, past SPC president

"We will miss you, Terry. Your legacy lives on through your sons and in the produce industry. You were a great leader with a tremendous vision and foresight we all learned from. A man of character and integrity, I am honored to have walked life with you. I bet you are already working on the Best Produce Show ever in the Kingdom of Paradise. Love you Bro!" — Mark Daniels, Military Produce Group, SPC vice president

"Terry was a Christian man and great example to all he came in contact with." — Joe Klare, Castellini Cos., SPC advisory board

"The produce industry lost a visionary leader and the Southeast Produce Council lost a true friend. He will be sorely missed, but remembered for bringing people together to support a purpose that created a vision." — Bobby Creel, L&M Cos., SPC advisory board

"Everyone will be mourning Terry for a very long time. There is nothing to say that will make this easier; in sadness, memories console, prayers soothe and time heals." — Sheila Carden, National Mango Board, SPC secretary

"Terry was a true industry giant who brought us all together as one family." — George Wiley, General Produce Inc.

"Terry Vorhees was a class act to say the least and his passion for produce and the produce industry was truly amazing. The SPC has not only lost a wonderful leader, but a dear friend." — Paula Helton, buyer, K-VA-T Food Stores Inc., SPC board member

"Terry Vorhees was a leader. He had such a unique ability to bring people from all walks of life for not only the good of our industry but for the good of who we are as human beings. The devotional chain that was started due to Terry's illness did just as much for the individuals who were included on the emails as it did for Terry. Just another way Terry caused people to rally around him. What a beautiful person he is. He is at peace now. Terry has left a legacy with this industry that is unparalleled to most. I believe Terry would like for us to celebrate his life, his homecoming to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as well as the fact that pain and suffering are gone forever with his new heavenly body." — Brandon Parker, Shuman Produce, SPC board member

"As one of the founders of the Southeast Produce Council, Terry Vorhees was the heart of the organization and poured his life and spirit into every aspect. He worked tirelessly to ensure the highest quality and first-class events. He made each of us proud to be a part of the council. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Terry and his family for sharing so much of his life and love with the produce industry. Terry, we'll miss you greatly! Thanks for being a great friend to all of us." — Dave Yeager, Farm Fresh Direct, past SPC board member

"I echo all the wonderful comments about Terry and his compassion and contributions and accomplishments for the produce industry. But after spending some quality time with his family, I have to say that he spent equal time sharing compassion and contributions with them and the accomplishments show. During this sad time I learned just how much his sons, their wives and his grandchildren loved and admired him. They are such a close-knit family and I love them all. I am blessed to have spent the time I did with them. His beloved Beth was by his side to the end. She had to be forced to leave his bedside to even eat. He was surrounded by his family and that's a tribute to a wonderful man. Continue to keep Beth and the family in your prayers that God will give them comfort and peace. I'm sure going to miss my dear friend but as everyone else, I will cling to all the wonderful memories." — Faye Westphal, DiMare Fresh, SPC board member

"I first met Terry when he was representing stone fruit growers from California with California Tree Fruit Agreement back in the early '90s. I was a young director at the time and remember thinking that he was a quiet guy and somewhat unassuming but very helpful and insightful about the industry he represented. After Terry left the CTFA, I lost track of him and it wasn't until the mid-2000s that I met him again at an industry event. At that time the SPC was in its early years and he told me about this little organization that was building up and becoming a resource for the produce industry in the Southeast. I was so very fortunate to become a member of the board of directors for SPC in 2009 and it was then that I really got to know Terry on another level. But one thing had not changed since the first time I met him: He was still unassuming in his approach, always giving and sharing to others and never was he looking for accolades as the SPC continued to grow and prosper. Instead, he continued to remind us all that the SPC would not exist without its industry supporters from all segments. Terry was a giver. Terry was also a visionary: His idea back in the late '90s to create the SPC that we all know today was a stroke of genius. With all of the wonderful things I can say about Terry Vorhees there is one that is most important. Terry was a man of faith and he cultivated that faith with everyone he met. It touched each of us who knew Terry and knowing him was to understand what humility really is. Terry had not an envious bone in his body, he loved unconditionally and his purpose was to help others and he did that every day in the many lives he touched. God bless Terry and his family." — Joe Watson, Rouses Supermarkets, SPC board member

"We are truly grateful and blessed to have known Terry, a remarkable and generous man who welcomed us and everyone he met into the produce industry with open arms and always made the Southeast Produce Council feel like family." — John and Kim Avola, Idea Garden Marketing

"Terry is everyone's trusted friend. His contributions to charities, this industry, SPC and countless individuals will not be forgotten. His kindness, smile and laugh will live on in our memories forever. He will be missed." — Michael A. Gonzalez, SMS Produce-Florida, SPC board member

"I would describe Terry as a man of faith. Faith in an idea over a decade ago that became a leading organization in our industry. Faith in me to become part of its board of directors, which has had a powerful impact on me personally and our company. Faith in our savior Jesus Christ who now gives him peace and will glorify him in Heaven for evermore. I'm very thankful I got to know Terry Vorhees." — Brian Rayfield, J&J Family of Farms, SPC board member

"From the moment I met Terry at the first Southern Exposure in Lakeland, Florida, I felt he and the founding members of the SPC were building something special. Under Terry's leadership and guidance, the SPC quickly became the produce industry's premiere association. Throughout the council's years of growth and success, Terry would shy away from accepting the bulk of the well-deserved credit. Instead, he chose to showcase his team, directors, committee members, and many volunteers. The SPC environment Terry created was one that fostered camaraderie and stewardship. Terry just didn't converse with people, he connected. His uncanny ability to achieve a true connection was a gift. And it was a gift he gave freely and often to those blessed enough to know him. Terry made an indelible impact to the council and our industry as a whole. As SPC members, our lives have all been enriched by knowing Terry. He will be deeply missed and never forgotten." — Harold Paivarinta, JemD/Red Sun Farms, SPC board member

"One never can truly never understand the scope or reach of his impact. We say everything is big in Texas, and Terry took this cowboy and showed him the heart and soul of the southeast. He was larger than life in this industry. His work, his passion, has left imprints on every one of us who he touched. I am sure he is at the ultimate party in heaven and we were all blessed by the time with him and the work done by him. God bless you Terry." — Tommy Wilkins, Grow Farms-Texas, SPC board member

Terry was a mentor and friend to so many people in the industry. Personally, he took care of me when I was a young man trying to break into the industry. He took me under his wing and gave me guidance that I continue to follow. He will be forever missed but never forgotten." — Mike Ryan, Bayshore Produce, SPC board member

While this is terribly sad for all of us, my grief is eased knowing Terry is no longer in pain. Terry's vision and devotion will allow his memory to live on through the council he so dearly loved. Thoughts and prayers to Bev, Scott and the rest of Terry's family. God bless." — Daniel Klausner, Apio Inc., past SPC board member

"It's a very sad day to lose a great man and a great friend like Terry. I know he will be fondly remembered by all of us as a kind and considerate friend and produce professional who added so much to our lives, our industry and especially the Southeast Produce Council. His memory and legacy will live on through all of us." — Doug Tannehill, Global Perishable Services, SPC board member

"It's with faith that we can be consoled that Terry is now in peace. And by the outpouring of love here Terry can smile and know his time here was spent very well. We've been blessed to have had Terry in our lives." — Kevin Dunleavy, Super Marketing Promotions, SPC board member

PMA, Sesame Workshop seek bright, healthy future for children

Current collaborations between producers of fresh produce, trade organizations and government officials will pave the way for a healthier America in the future.

Last October, First Lady Michelle Obama — honorary chair of the Partnership for a Healthier America — announced that the Produce Marketing Association and Sesame Workshop had joined forces with the organization in a two-year agreement aimed at promoting consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables among children.HealthyKidsFirst Lady Michelle Obama and Big Bird of ‘Sesame Street’ participated in public service announcement tapings in the White House Kitchen. (Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson) The program is also designed to help parents and families make smart choices.

The “Eat Brighter” campaign piggybacks on the successes of beloved and colorful Sesame Street characters and the highly successful Sesame Street brand to gets its message across. The program is geared towards children ages two to five, their parents and caregivers.

“It’s no secret that many parents have a hard time getting kids excited about eating their fruits and vegetables,” Lawrence Soler, chief executive officer of Partnership for a Healthier America, told The Produce News. “The work that Sesame and PMA are doing helps all of us promote increased fruit and vegetable consumption, and gives parents and families a powerful, positive tool to help kids get excited about eating healthier foods.”

The program builds upon the earlier successes of Sesame Workshop and its Healthy Habits for Life initiative, which was launched in 2004.  “We are thrilled to join the PMA in this new initiative,” said H. Melvin Ming, president and chief executive officer of Sesame Workshop. “We know the power and appeal our Sesame Street Muppets have to encourage children and their families to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. These healthier choices will lead to a brighter future for our children.”

Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. “Diet is the number one cause of mortality and obesity issues in the U.S.,” PMA said on its webpage dedicated to coverage of this important program. “At the same time, fresh produce consumption remains low. As produce marketers, we have the power to do something about it, and we all know sophisticated, targeted marketing works. Sesame Workshop and the produce industry share a common goal and view the intersection of marketing, fresh produce and brand trust as a powerful instrument to inspire children ages two to five, and their parents and caregivers, to choose fresh fruits and vegetables.”

PMA President Cathy Burns said produce marketers, “have the power to influence children’s eating habits. Our goal is to spark a unified movement — helping our industry rise above the advertising noise with a strong voice and one clear message, meanwhile boosting sales and instilling good values to build customer loyalty.”

A special turnkey toolkit has been developed, making royalty-free resources available to retailers. These include use of Sesame Street characters in media placements and in-store signage and packaging. Retailers are encouraged to take advantage of the toolkit as part of their “back to school” promotions.

“Members of the Sesame Workshop-PMA marketing taskforce have dedicated hours of their time to ensure the success and adaptability of the marketing toolkit, and they should be commended for that,” said Todd Putman, chief marketing officer of Bolthouse Farms and chair of the taskforce, in the statement.

Additional details about the toolkit are available at

The power of brand equity has been quantified. In a recent study published by the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, researchers at Cornell University found that children given a choice between eating an apple, cookie or both were more likely to choose the cookie. But when researchers added an Elmo sticker to apples, the number of children selecting the apple nearly doubled.

“The goal here is grand, but simple — to change the conversation surrounding fresh produce,” said Putnam in mid-July. “Really, it’s to start a conversation, because we know that of all the things families are talking about, eating fresh fruits and vegetables may not top the list. But the USDA recently reported that children of this generation may not outlive their parents because of obesity, and that’s unacceptable. It’ll take a village to turn that around, but now we have a few tools to help us.”

On Feb. 9, 2010, the First Lady launched the “Let’s Move!” campaign. The program promotes healthy eating and physical activity among children. The national call to action includes healthful tips and step-by-step strategies for kids, parents, schools, community leaders, chefs and health care providers.

Expoalimentaria to draw global exhibitors and attendees to Peru

Peru will be the world capital of food Aug. 27-29 when the trade fair Expoalimentaria will open its doors to 2,500 international buyers, who will have the opportunity to do business with more than 650 exhibitor companies from Peru and other countries.

The Jockey Club Convention Center in Lima, Peru, will set the stage for this mega event, organized by ADEX with the invaluable support of Promperú, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, and the Ministry of Production.

Expoalimentaria-fairExpoalimentaria 2014 will enable 2,500 international buyers to meet with more than 650 exhibitor companies from Peru and other countries.It is estimated that the fair will receive more than 35,000 visitors from 62 countries this year, which won't only be touring the fairgrounds but will also participate in specialized conventions, themed shows, technical lectures and other complementary events that have been prepared many months in advance.

A number of different supermarket chains and distributors from around the world have confirmed their presence at the show, including Loblaw Cos. Limited (Canada), Isidro de La Cal (Spain), Yosa (Finland), Kibsons International (U.A.E.), Choithrams (U.A.E.), Coastal Sunbelt Produce (United States), Fresh Pacific (United States), Mercado Latino Inc. (United States), Yayla (Turkey), Derstine's (United States), Grace (Jamaica), Spar (Spain) and Übelhör (Germany).

Pavilions, halls and activities

Companies that participate as exhibitors will be based in pavilions according to their category: food and drinks; marine and aquaculture products; packaging; and services and machinery. Additionally, the Markets & Trends Convention II will be held, along with the conferences "Packaging Trends for the food industry" and "Branding and Trade Marketing Strategies."

The event will also include a Business Roundtable, the Innovation Contest V, the Pisco Hall, the Gastronomy Hall, the Hall of Peruvian Coffee and Cacao for the World, the Hall of Aquaculture and Marine Products, and the Tasting Room.

Also highlighted is "Perú Natura," a pavilion where Peruvian companies - many from the country's interior - will put Peruvian biodiversity on display, including aguaymanto (Cape gooseberries), quinoa, sacha inchi and more. The Perú Regiones pavilion will enable visitors to appreciate the most representative products of the country. There will also be a program of plant visits in the north for foreign companies to experience the Fishing and the fruit and vegetable sectors.

Fifth Innovation Contest

The objective is to reward entrepreneurial ingenuity in constantly improving the exportable offering from the region by making it more attractive in international markets. New this year will be the incorporation of a category for packaging within the competition, joined by eight already known parts of the food industry: oils and sauces; drinks; sweets and snacks; canned fruits and vegetables; functional foods and nutraceuticals; pasta and flour; fishing; and finally, quinoa.

Some of the growers who have participated in previous contests are now already in international markets. The company Industrias Alimenticias Cusco S.A., known as INCASUR, is currently exporting its quinoa flakes product, which was the winner of last year's Quinoa innovation category.

Gastronomy Hall

As gastronomy is an area that helps position Peru's food supply to the world, a Gastronomy Hall will be included in the event, where the great quality and variety of ingredients used in Peruvian cuisine will be on display. Prestigious national and foreign chefs will be present, including Pedro Schiaffino (Malabar y ámáZ), Flavio Solórzano (El Señorío de Sulco) and Mitsuharu Tsumura (Maido), among others, who will prepare exquisite dishes and desserts using new local products with added value.

Business Roundtable

International buyers will be able to participate in the event's Business Roundtable, and through software specially developed for this event, will be able to access a detailed database of growers and schedule personalized meetings. The roundtable is a fundamental tool with a differentiating value for the event because it allows business meetings to be arranged based on products of interest. Additionally, it will facilitate interpretation, bank consulting, logistics, tax and certification services within the same physical space.

Regional Presence

Expoalimentaria 2014 will take place in an exhibit hall area of 23,400 square meters, where regions represented will include the coastal areas of Piura, Ica and Arequipa; and Amazon regions such as San Martín and Ucayali, among many others.

Piura is known for its fishing and agriculture, while companies in Lambayeque and La Libertad will feature fruits and vegetables, both fresh and processed, as part of their offerings. The regions of Arequipa and Tacna are also growers of onions, as well as oregano for the former and olives for the later.

There will also be country pavilions, including Ecuador, India, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Greece, Spain, the United States, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia.

Terry Vorhees dies at 64

Terry Vorhees, executive director of the Southeast Produce Council, died Wednesday night, July 30, after a short battle with lung cancer. He was 64 years old and a resident of Ruskin, FL.

VorheesMr. Vorhees had a long and successful career in the produce industry, including serving as a representative of the California Tree Fruit Agreement for many years. But his professional legacy -- what he will be remembered for as long as there is a produce industry -- is an association he helped bring into existence.

Mr. Vorhees was one of six industry leaders who met in Atlanta in 1999 to discuss forming a new organization, one that would represent the interests and unique characteristics of the produce industry in the southeastern United States. That new organization would eventually be called the Southeast Produce Council, and Mr. Vorhees would become its first executive director, a title he would hold proudly until the day he died.

The council held its first conference and expo in 2004, in Lakeland, FL, with 92 exhibitors and drawing a few hundred people. But the council and the expo grew steadily under Mr. Vorhees' leadership as the years went by. That annual event, which is now known as Southern Exposure, drew close to 1,800 people in 2014, and there's a waiting list to exhibit.

This past June 18-19, the council held its first Charity Golf Classic, at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton, GA, and raised $50,000 for the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. During a video link at the event, the council surprised Mr. Vorhees by announcing that in future years, the event would be known as the Terry Vorhees Charity Golf Classic in honor of "his vision in creating this event, his commitment to giving back and his service to the Southeast Produce Council."

Eight states -- North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee -- comprised the original base of the council; it added Virginia and Kentucky in the fall of 2004.

Many people, of course, have contributed to the great success of the council, but Mr. Vorhees was in many respects its driving force. And in so many ways, and for so many people, he was the face of the Southeast Produce Council.

Terry Lee Vorhees was born June 2, 1950 in Logan, OH, where he grew up. He played football at Logan High School, graduating in 1968.

He moved to Washington, DC, where he met Susan Angle. They got married in 1970, and had two sons, Shaun and Scott. After they got divorced, Mr. Vorhees married Beverly Dye in 1987, and he became step-father to Ryan and Sean Yoders.

They all survive him, along with his brothers, Keith Vorhees and Allen Vorhees; his sister, Melissa Snyder; his mother, Lois; and three grandchildren, Seth, Jacob and Chase.

Funeral arrangements are in the process of being finalized.

Chilean Fresh Fruit Association wins Sensory Experience Contest at PMA Expo

A recipe entered by the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association won top honors at the Produce Marketing Association’s Sensory Experience Contest at this year’s PMA Foodservice Expo.

The recipe, created for CFFA by Executive Chef Don Cortes, is Chilean Fruit Medley Gazpacho with Grape, Bacon and Brie Melt, an innovative interpretation of the classic soup-and-sandwich combination. The winning recipe is described by the chef as “a duet that pleases with beautiful colors, contrasting/complimentary textures and temperatures, and delicious flavors.”

gaspChilean Fruit Medley Gazpacho with Grape, Bacon and Brie Melt.“The versatility, flavor and beauty of Chilean fruit joined with Chef Cortes’ skill and creativity to create this standout recipe,” Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, said in a press release. “We are honored to be recognized by such an impressive panel of foodservice professionals and look forward to seeing what we can create for next year’s Expo.”

A panel of 11 foodservice professionals — comprised of representatives from Brinker, Darden, Culinary Sales Support, Produce Alliance, Brinker International, Pro*Act, Fresh Point, Wendy’s, Sysco, Southern Specialties and Chick-fil-A — selected CFFA’s entry from among 10 finalists. Recipes were judged on the following criteria: produce-centric, innovative, appearance and kid-friendly. Additional considerations included a recipe name that is descriptive, health value, taste, aroma and presentation.

As first-place winner, CFFA will receive second choice of booth location at the 2015 Foodservice Produce Expo; an announcement on the show floor; and recognition in PMA’s press outreach and on PMA’s website.

Chile is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest producer of fresh fruit and North America’s top source of fruit during the winter months. The Chilean Fresh Fruit Association directs all marketing and promotional activities for fresh Chilean fruit in the U.S. and Canada.