As we near this year’s Fresh Summit, the exhibitor line-up is starting to solidify and more and more companies are deciding to join the show. For Oregon-based Bridges Produce, this will be the first virtual show they participate in. “We have heard good things about other virtual shows like United Fresh, and we look forward to participating in the virtual PMA,” says Sydney Fairchild.
One of the main objectives for Bridges at this year’s show is to promote and highlight their numerous growing partners, products, and labels. “We work with an incredible group of growers who are passionate not only about their products but about organics, land use, worker welfare, and much more. At the in-person shows, many of our grower partners join us and are able to speak with the buyers about their programs. We also display their products and demonstrate the difference that their dedication and attention to detail really makes. With the show being virtual this year, we must find other ways to share these stories. In addition to speaking with customers via the chat feature and in one-on-one meetings, we will also feature our grower’s stories and photos under exhibitor highlights and have downloadable program overviews available,” Fairchild explains.
Ideal timing for fall and holiday line-up
Bridges Produce offers a wide variety of product offerings year-round, but the timing of the Fresh Summit show aligns perfectly with their fall and holiday line-ups. “When it comes to holiday staples, we have a robust supply of organic potatoes, squash, cranberries, apples, pears, onions, and much more,” says Ben Johnson. Fairchild adds: “The timing aligns perfectly with our organic cranberry season. Our long-time partner Patience Fruit & Co., who are based out of Quebec, Canada, grows beautiful organic cranberries distributed nationally and ready for the upcoming holiday season.”
Besides these holiday staples, Bridges with also show off their ever-growing Mexican row crop program. “This program spans from September through May, and features a wide range of squash, melons, peppers, cucumbers, beans, and eggplant,” Fairchild shares.
Bridges’ organic product line remains one of their focal point and this will be highlighted at the show. Johnson shares: “Bridges was founded on, and continues to focus on, organics specifically. We are organic experts and this history and knowledge of the industry as well as range of supply helps to differentiate us within the organic sector and during the virtual PMA.” Fairchild agrees, adding: “One thing that is unique about Bridges, whether it is a physical or a virtual setting, is the breadth and depth of our product offerings. The wide number of labels represented as well as the number of products offered will help Bridges stand out from other exhibitors.”
Preparing for the virtual event
With the new event format this year, the preparations for exhibitors have changed too. One of the biggest changes in preparing for the virtual event, says Fairchild, is finding the right balance between the trade show activities and other work. “For the in-person PMA, much of the industry stops, as business is happening on the floor instead of over the phone or through email. While this format does allow for extended connections, since the platform is available for weeks rather than days, work will not pause as it does with the in-person show. So, making sure we are prepared for this balance during our very busy fall season is one of our priorities. This year’s Fresh Summit will be a marathon, not a sprint.”
Looking forward to connecting with the industry
With preparations in full swing, Bridges Produce is looking forward to seeing their efforts come to fruition at their virtual booth. “It is really interesting to see the evolution and adaptation of the trade show format and we hope that everyone makes the most of the opportunity,” Johnson says.
One of the unique opportunities of the virtual format is the ease with which visitors and exhibitors alike can reach each other. “The in-person trade show floor at PMA is expansive and it is difficult to walk and take in the offering of all exhibiting vendors. With the ease of the online format and the extended time frame, we hope to connect with customers and suppliers who we may not have been able to meet in the past due to the physical size of the show. The produce industry is a very social group who thrive on the face to face element of trade shows. We will miss seeing our customers, vendors, and friends this year but hope to find ways to mimic this with the virtual format,” Fairchild concludes.