The Eastern Produce Council hosted its third annual Tailgate Event — sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission and Litehouse Inc. — in the Toyota Club at MetLife Stadium on Wednesday, Oct. 2 in East Rutherford, NJ. This year's featured speaker was Vince Papale, Philadelphia Eagles legend and subject of the movie Invincible.
Ed Klein and Matt Royer of Litehouse Inc., Jamie Bowen of IPC, Vince Papale, Stacey Miller of Litehouse Inc., and Seth Pemsler and Mike Krage of IPC.
Anna Kirsch of Avocados from Mexico with Richard Borchers of World Wide Sales.
John McCann (center) of Del Monte Fresh Produce with Alfonso Delgado and Oscar Garcia of Avocados from Mexico.
Eric Mitchnick of E. Armata Fruit & Produce, Krysten DeGiglio of Village Farms and Rob Goldstein of GenPro.
Maggie Bezart Hall and Gustavo Rivas of La Bonanza.
Ruben Mercedes, Crisbel Curiel and Brad Ehnert of FreshPro Food Distributors.
Jessica Flaim-Salerno and Tony Victor of R&R Flaim Next Generation Produce.
Representing the New Jersey Department of Agriculture were Christine Fries, Peter Pascale, Joe Atchison and Tom Beaver.
Ken Gray (second from left) and Marc Turner (right) of Bushwick Potato Co. with Jim Gallagher, Holly Litts, Dan Weis and Joe Schneider of King Kullen.
Dan Gravinese of AFD Enterprises, Jim Allen of New York Apple Sales, Al Murray of the New Jersey Agricultural Society and Kurt Zuhlke of Kurt Zuhlke & Associates.
Tom Aupperle of MVP Logistics and Lee Ruden of Chiquita.
Sal D’Agostino of World Wide Sales and Tom Randazzo of Fresh Express.
Sal D’Agostino of World Wide Sales and Derrick Bender of Fowler Packing.
Eric Mitchnick of E. Armata Fruit & Produce with Jeff Garrison of Sunsweet.
Tony and Angela Pellegrino of Seald Sweet.
Jack Chere of Little Potato Co., Rich Martin of JOH Produce and Michael Hill of Nature Sweet.
Jason Grappel of Genpro Inc. with Victor Joseph and Jarrett Botnick of Victor Joseph & Son.
Nicki Lepere of Procacci Bros. and Richard Borchers of World Wide Sales.
EPC President Marianne Soto of Wakefern Food Corp. addresses the EPC membership at the start of the Oct. 2 meeting at MetLife Stadium, which was sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission and Litehouse Foods.
Seth Pemsler, vice president of retail and international for the Idaho Potato Commission, which co-sponsored the Oct. 2 EPC meeting at MetLife Stadium.
Stacey Miller, director of business development at Litehouse Foods, which co-sponsored the Oct. 2 EPC meeting at MetLife Stadium.
Vince Papale, a former wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, was the featured speaker at the Oct. 2 EPC meeting at MetLife Stadium. He spoke of overcoming long odds of breaking into the National Football League at age 30. His story was made into a movie called Invincible, starring Mark Wahlberg.
Those arriving early enjoyed a tour of the stadium, which included the press box and museum, the commissioner’s lounge and the field. Following a cocktail hour featuring Idaho potato and Litehouse fare, EPC President Marianne Santo introduced the evening’s sponsors: Stacey Miller, director of marketing for Litehouse Inc., and Seth Pemsler, retail vice president of the Idaho Potato Commission. Both introduced their staff in attendance, remarked on the importance of the Metro New York marketplace to their businesses, and handed over the night to guest speaker Papale.
Papale shared his unique story with the audience through his humor and enthusiasm. He is a former professional football player who played three seasons for his beloved, hometown NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles. He was a 30-year-old NFL rookie who never played college ball at his Alma Mater, St. Joseph’s College, which he attended on a full track scholarship. It has been described that Papale’s odds of achieving his wildest lifelong dream of playing for the Eagles was “one in a gazillion!” He connected his story to the business world, the importance of dreams and teamwork.
Following Papale’s engaging remarks, the sponsors raffled off footballs and a book, signed by Papale, as well as Idaho Potato Trucks and the always popular Spudy Buddies. Between the unique setting, the food, and Papale’s dynamic presentation, the crowd of loyal EPC members thoroughly enjoyed the night.