Carolina vegetable growers will get a big shot of marketing at the 20th annual Southeast Vegetable and Fruit Expo, which is combined with the 23rd annual Eastern North Carolina Vegetable School.

The Expo and School will be held Dec. 12-14 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Theme of the dual show is ‘Cultivating New Deals’. It features Edith Garrett, who owns and operates E. Garrett and Associates, one of the top vegetable marketing research firms in the World. A specialist in product packaging, Garrett will talk about opportunities for fresh cut summer vegetables.

Among the guest speakers is Richard Dahl, COO of Dole Food Company. He will discuss some of the business aspects of the produce business, including the company's decision to build a cut vegetable plant in eastern North Carolina.

The marketing focus of the meeting will feature several presentations on new crop opportunities and how to capture more dollars for produce. “Planning Now for Wow” will be a highlight of the session, featuring Bill Gerlach, director of Research and Development for Melissa World Variety Produce Inc, in Los Angeles, Calif.

Other marketing presentations include: “Specialty Vegetables for Latino Communities,” “Marketing ‘Red Neck’ Vegetables,” and “How We Get $6 for a Dozen Sweet Corn.” The latter presentation by Gary Sweet, who is a sweet corn grower in Ohio is sure to generate interest, according to Nick Augostini, who is a marketing specialist with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.

The Expo also features an extensive trade show, which will feature the latest in crop varieties, irrigation equipment, farm chemicals and processing equipment.

Though marketing is the focus of the Expo, the meeting contains plenty of cutting edge production information in sections on tomato and pepper production, sweet potatoes, cole crops, watermelons and melons, greenhouse crops, sweet corn and snap beans.

The Expo and Workshop are sponsored by the North Carolina Vegetable Growers Association in cooperation with Clemson University, North Carolina Agricultural Research Service, North Carolina Department of Agriculture, North Carolina State University, South Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the South Carolina Growers Association.

For more information, including late registration and housing, contact Cathy Price at the North Carolina Vegetable Growers Association at 919-334-0099 or by e-mail at cdprice@bellsouth.net.

More information about the Expo and Workshop is detailed at the North Carolina Vegetable Growers Association website: www.ncvga.com.

e-mail: rroberson@primediabusiness.com