Tour de Fresh 2017 Wraps Up Final Day; Cindy Jewell and Jim Bogart Comment
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
MONTEREY, CA - It was like high school graduation as Tour de Freshers prepared for their final miles to the finish line yesterday morning. Laughter, photos, even sadness filled the lot as we prepared to leave Monterey’s Hilton Garden Inn with 6 support cars, 2 motorcycles, and over 50 bicycles.
As they crossed the finish line to the cheers of friends, family, and sponsors, not a single rider’s face reflected the sweat, shaking limbs, or sore muscles they had suffered the last three days. Just million-watt smiles. Or, should I say $165,000?
“The most we have ever raised,” exclaimed Cindy Jewell, VP of Marketing and matron of the tour’s existence, holding a huge check for $165,096. As she spoke on behalf of the support crew, she said, “We are so proud to have spent this time with you as you busted your butts out there. I just want to thank all of you for the commitment and the passion you displayed in riding and in fundraising; you’ve been truly incredible.”
Rider and United Fresh Vice President of Trade Relations Jeff Oberman stepped down from the podium in all his gear to collect the check on behalf of the association, thanking the support crew and the entire Tour de Fresh.
Grower Shipper Association President Jim Bogart also expressed deep appreciation to the team, commenting, “I want to congratulate all the riders. The country is really behind on getting salad bars to our schools, so Grower Shipper Association is proud to be a part of this important initiative to get fruits and vegetables to our kids.”
As it has grown, the Tour de Fresh has seen more and more of our industry come together in the name of that initiative. This year, over 40 sponsors joined the cause according to Brock Nemecek, a list that continues to grow.
And of course, so does the list of riders. In true Tour de Fresh fashion, as representation of its being inspired by Tour de France, and to recognize stand out produce members during the event, we had some great yellow jersey moments for the 2017 ride.
Not the least of which were Brian Vetter gifting his to Jeff Church for the friendship and teamwork that has blossomed from the ride. As well has rookie rider Matt Vetter receiving his first yellow jersey before having to fly back home to Maryland to welcome his second child!
Congratulations to all these outstanding yellow jersey winners:
- Kelly Ansaldao
- Joey Bruno
- Jeff Bruff
- Andrew Muller
- Mike Magana
- Raina Nelson
- Dennis Ford
- Axel Merckx
- Gerd Uitdewilligen
- Brandon & Amy Gritters
- Jenn Armen
- Matt Vetter
- Brian Vetter
- Greg Vetter
- Jeff Church
- Jonathan Sinclair
All of you played a key role in this amazing feat, and I cannot wait to see where year five takes us. Literally, with a new location yet to be announced, it is one more thing to be excited for as the countdown begins to the next Tour de Fresh.
A special thank you for allowing me to be apart of the crew and see firsthand what those salad bars take. Till next time!