Washington, Meet Florida
When Washington crop growers travel to the Global Produce and Floral Show, they get to share how special the Evergreen State is with a national audience.
Each year, hundreds of growers, specialty crop commissions, and trade groups gather to celebrate American produce and meet with potential customers. Visitors to the Global Produce and Floral Show are likely to see colorful booths and displays from familiar brands like Dole, Green Giant, and Sunkist.
One display booth that gathered a lot of attention during the 2023 show in Orlando was the Washington Grown display, where “Washington Grown” TV show host Tomás Guzmán helped show off a huge assortment of Washington state produce. A large delegation of Washington crop commissions, including Washington Blueberries, Washington Asparagus, Washington Potatoes, Washington Apples, and Washington Sweet Cherries all made the trip to Florida. Visitors to the exhibit could see and sample fruits and vegetables from the Evergreen State, but even more importantly, they could meet the people behind the produce.
“A lot of trade is really dependent on relationships,” said Rianne Perry from the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “Tasting and touching and seeing the product is really important, but also just that one-on- one building a relationship is really critical.”
Like at any trade show, people running the display booths try different tactics to attract attention. Some brought their mascot, like the Chiquita Banana lady or the bee from SugarBee Apples. The marketing team behind Avocados from Mexico brought a mariachi band. The result was that the entire convention felt like a party — a happy celebration of the natural bounty of agriculture.
“It’s just a great place for people to come and see what’s new, in one big show. It’s a great way to showcase everything that our growers have been working hard for at home,” said Danelle Huber from CMI Orchards.
“You meet so many fun people,” added Brandy Tucker from the Washington State Potato Commission, “and the fact that everybody is excited about agriculture makes me more excited about what I do.”
The Washington growers who were present wanted to share a simple message with anyone interested: It’s important to educate the public about agriculture grown in their home state and to support those farmers, growers, and producers by seeking out foods that are Washington grown.
“It makes me really proud, coming from Washington and seeing all of these companies here,” said Perry. “Just seeing the representation and being able to show off our products.”