ATLANTA -- Farm Star Living brought its mission to life at its inaugural showcase Jan. 26, here, connecting growers and consumers, who learned about farm-fresh food and the origins of the foods they eat.
In the panoramic top floor of the W Hotel in Atlanta, Farm Star Living’s Product Harvest 2017 farm-to-everything showcase enabled produce companies to share their messages and passion with consumer press and bloggers, mix and mingle with shoppers, and sample their foods.
Delbert Bland, owner of Bland Farms, with Sandra Bland, founder and director of marketing for Vidalia Brands, and Mary Blackmon, founder of Farm Star Living. Photos courtesy of Kaz Artis.
California Sun Dry was represented by Gary DeAtley, chief executive officer, and Loucy DeAtley, administrative vice president.
On hand for Del Monte Fresh were April Broadwater, assistant marketing manager, and Katiana Valdes, senior marketing manager.
Representing EarthFresh were Stephanie Cutaia, marketing director, and Carla Iwasiuk, corporate chef.
Hampton Farms' Eric Boonshaft, brand marketing director, and Jamie McGarity, marketing assistant, flank Mary Blackmon, founder of Farm Star Living.
From KiwiStar were Ashley Celestin, sales associate, and Jeff King, organic category manager.
Rachel Syngo, director of new business development, and Katelyn Miller, food safety specialist, represented Melon 1 Inc.
LeighAnne Thomsen, brand marketing manager for Mission Produce, and Julianna St. Geme, events marketing manager.
Representing NatureSweet were Carla Conte, sales division manager, and consultants and sampling team members Mica Sosa and Daniel Walker.
Remi Bagwell, special projects coordinator for Southern Specialties, with Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development for the Pompano Beach, FL-based specialty produce distributor.
Adri Crawford, marketing manager, and Vicky St. Geme, vice president of marketing, for Taylor Farms.
Chad Hartman, Truly Good Foods director of marketing, and Lisa Smith, senior marketing communication manager.
Lauren Melenbacker of Marketing Plus promoted the Well-Pict Berries line of products.
From the Wonderful Co. were Ashley Kohlbrand, retail sales merchandising supervisor, and Brian Gadwah, regional sales manager.
Denise Scribellito, sales manager of W.P. Rawl & Sons.
Mary Blackmon, founder of Farm Star Living, gave a keynote address on the ever-increasing importance of brand transparency and the important role of the larger produce food brands in today’s marketplace.
“People need to understand how the larger produce food brands not only provide quality, healthy fresh foods, but keep generations of farmers in business and are exemplary stewards of the land,” she said. “I wanted to ‘lift the veil’ and educate the media and shoppers as to who these companies are and what they represent so that consumers may better understand where their food comes from, which is exactly what shoppers are demanding today.”
This was a first-of-its-kind, inspiring and educational experience for all who attended, and both stronger rapport and better relationships between the produce brands and consumer audiences were developed. Farm Star Living is in planning stages for its follow-up event.