Cutting-edge vegetable and fruit production and marketing topics as well as an ethanol workshop top the North Carolina Vegetable Growers Association's 16th annual Southeast Vegetable and Fruit Expo Dec. 10-12 in Greensboro. “Today's Groundwork, Tomorrow's Achievement is the theme.”

In addition to featuring a top fresh-cut industry expert at the Expo, the annual conference will also feature a workshop on ethanol production. The Expo will be held at the Sheraton Greensboro Hotel at Four Seasons, Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.

The Ethanol Workshop for Rural America on Wednesday, Dec. 12, will feature managers of ethanol plants and nutritional experts, focusing on farmers, ranchers and the agricultural sector. Organizers note that the Governor's Coalition of Ethanol will meet the day before the workshop in Greensboro, says Shirley Ball, executive director of the Ethanol Producers and Consumers Association. Ball says the governors and their representatives have been invited to stay-over for the ethanol workshop.

The Expo's keynote speaker is Edith Garrett, president of the International Fresh-cut Produce Association. She will speak at the opening session on Monday, Dec. 10.

Garrett's keynote address is entitled, “Value Added: Tapping into Tomorrow's Opportunities for Profit.” She is an expert on consumer trends, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points programs, food safety, and microbiological and regulatory affairs covering the fruit and vegetable industry.

In addition to giving the keynote address at the Expo, Garrett will also discuss the nuts and bolts of the fresh-cut business on Tuesday, Dec. 11. On Monday, she will be available in a round table discussion, answering questions about business opportunities and practical issues.

Farmers and researchers will discuss topics ranging from sweet potatoes, small fruits, food safety, direct marketing, irrigation, organic production, crucifers, specialty crops, melons and cucurbits at Expo.