Date ArticleType
5/3/2017 Member News
Produce Marketing Association takes on global trade from Newark

Produce Marketing Association takes on global trade from Newark

Produce Marketing Association holds meet-and-greet events worldwide

NEWARK — One thief, two grad students and a mushroom company executive with a truck caused the Produce Marketing Association to move from bustling New York City to suburban Newark nearly 60 years ago.It all started with the thief:

“The executive director ran off with the exhibit money,” said Kathy Means, the association’s vice president of industry relations.

Then the mushroom company executive sprung into action:

A board member who worked in the mushroom industry dispatched a mushroom truck to New York City to retrieve the association’s mimeograph machine and meager office supplies. They landed in Newark where she was pretty sure she could hire some grad students to keep the trade association running.

And then the grad students took over.

One of them, Bob Carey, served as CEO until 1996. That’s how an international organization came to operate from an office building on Casho Mill Road. “It’s sort of an accident that we’re here in Delaware, but it’s worked for us,” Means said.

The Produce Marketing Association, nearly 2,700 members strong, serves small companies and household names like Sunkist, Sysco, Dole, Denny’s, Acme and Applebee’s.

It started out life as the Produce Prepacking Association after World War II when the plastic films used in the war effort turned out to be useful in the food industry. Today, it represents food industry interests, reports on trends in the fresh produce and floral market and arranges events around the world. Cathy Burns, president of Food Lion until 2012, is CEO.