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Grower Network gearing up for Fresh Summit

In less than five years the Grower Network has already made a name for itself in the Bell pepper industry. The company is looking forward to attending this year’s Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit to continue to spread its word and show it can do even more.

“PMA is the place to be if you are doing anything in regard to the fresh produce industry, and this is an opportunity for us as growers to have the ability to showcase our items and even find suppliers who can help,” said Eric Bolesta, sales manager for the Grower Network. “You can touch upon just about anything, and learn so much, both about what other people are doing, but also gain information on cutting technology.”

22554896 1748629672097526 8922055483351254973 nEric Bolesta, sales manager for the Grower Network.The Lake Park, GA-based company was started by a collection of North America’s premier growers of high-quality Bell peppers, with the mindset of bringing the best to the industry. In a short period of time, the Grower Network has created a network of experienced farmers who share a passion for excellence in farming and customer service, offering a year-round supply of thick-walled, square-shouldered, healthy Bell peppers.

For the upcoming Fresh Summit, the company will showcase its newest items, including its new tray packing abilities, which includes squash, peppers and hot peppers, as well as anything else that involves a tray.

Experience has taught Bolesta that success comes from having a good presentation, which is why the company makes sure it has a good team leading its efforts at Fresh Summit and any trade show they are involved with.

“We have a marketing firm that we work with in order to get ready for the show,” he said, “We have a long-standing relationship with them and we tell them the products we want to feature and they help us come up with a winning strategy for the show. You just give them an idea, and they do a wonderful job running with it.”

One of the hot topics he expects to be talking about on the show floor involves consumers and packaging needs.

“Research shows that 30 to 40 percent of consumers like to pick their produce in a package kind of deal, and that’s a big thing that the industry needs to keep an eye on. People care whether it’s loose or in a package,” Bolesta said. “I think that’s a big topic and one that will continue to be one.”

Another thing he expected to be talking about is food-safety and the ever-evolving regulations required. He’s seen some new research and technology come out recently to make things better and believes that things are only going to improve industry-wide when it comes to food safety in the future.

“Something I would like to see people talking about is how we can increase produce sales,” Bolesta said. “It seems like the last 10-15 years, people aren’t buying as much of it, and we need to figure out how to get people buying more and getting back to eating fruits and vegetables again.”