California Giant's Cindy Jewell and Mission Produce's Robb Bertels Discuss Upcoming Tour de Fresh
WATSONVILLE, CA - United Fresh is not just coming, it is now upon us. Beyond the networking and showcasing, there is another advantage to the show floor that could help to ensure not only tighter partnerships within the industry, but stronger produce consumption outside of it.
By now we know the Tour de Fresh is fighting for accessible produce for the next generation, one mile at a time, and while the riders are recruited and sponsors made, there is more we can all be doing as we gather in Chicago this week.
“We will have a poster in our booth with all the rider photos and their fundraising progress to date, and we will also be happy to collect funds electronically on the spot for any donations made at the show,” California Giant’s Vice President of Marketing Cindy Jewell tells me, sharing that promotions in the United Fresh booth are a growing way to get even more industry members involved. “It really occurred to me just this year what a huge group of friends we are creating in our industry because of this annual ride. Now, each time I attend a conference or convention our booth becomes the Tour de Fresh home for current riders, past riders, sponsors, and curious sponsors-to-be. Together, we have all created this huge team of people that are now connected through this crazy three-day event we pull off every year.”
It is a growing extension to the produce family that other booths of participating sponsors are encouraged to join, be it through fun inclusions like last year’s stationary bicycle, or photos with riders, or just stopping by to show support and help push the event towards its goal of $150,000.
“Each year has been completely different with attendees, venues, and routes, but every year brings the same exact result–crazy camaraderie that lasts well beyond the ride,” Cindy shares, and as a spectator coming along for the third year I can absolutely agree.
And if not from us, take it from first-time rider Robb Bertels, VP of Marketing for Mission Produce.
“Mission Produce really believes in the school salad bar program, and we’ve been a sponsor of the Tour de Fresh since its inception,” Robb shares. “We have four riders in the Tour this year, and have a healthy competition going on about who can raise the most money. We also decided to create a team kit (jerseys, bibs, sleeves, gloves, socks) and approached some of our vendors to contribute to our efforts. We’ll place sponsor logos on our Mission Produce jerseys so we will look like extremely slow and–in my case–out of shape professional bike riders!”
Click here to see who will be riding and what company they will be repping in the process. I encourage you to turn this list into a scavenger hunt to track down other exhibitors showcasing Tour de Fresh support, to meet and shake hands with some of these amazing riders, and to find out how you can get more involved in helping kids fall in love with fruits and veggies across the U.S.