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Dates and Chilean fruit win PMA tasting contents

In an effort to come up with more appetizing fruit and vegetable dishes for kids, the Produce Marketing Association held a Sensory Experience Contest at its most recent convention.

A panel of buyers from many retail and foodservice operations chose Chilean Fresh Fruit Pizza from the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association as the winner in the adult division. The contest also included a panel of kid judges from the Boys & Girls Club of Stanton, a Southern California community. DSCN2872At the 2012 Fresh Summit expo, the Produce Marketing Association held a Sensory Experience Contest, which included a panel of kid judges from The Boys & Girls Club of Stanton, CA.The Kids Choice Award went to the date shake entry by the California Date Administrative Committee.

Tom Tjerandsen, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association said the pizza recipe was created specifically for institutional feeders of kids and it has been getting good traction. It features a warm tortilla topped with cinnamon, cream cheese and two and a half cups of freshly sliced Chilean fruit. “It has done very well in many school districts so we thought it might do well in this contest,” he said. “We were delighted that it won.”

Eleven recipes were chosen as finalists for the contest, which materialized as a chef demo challenge on the floor of the PMA exposition on Oct. 28, the final day of the convention. The chefs were charged with creating a flavorful kids’ menu option meeting U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ‘Half the Plate’ guidelines. Fourteen judges from across the fresh produce supply chain selected the winner.

“The result of the Sensory Experience Contest really promotes the importance of flavor to kids,” Bryan Silbermann, PMA’s president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “The fresh produce industry has made a commitment to delivering flavorful, quality fresh fruits and vegetables — and the kids couldn’t get enough — even asking for a second helping once the contest concluded.”