A crowd of 600-700 fruit and vegetable growers from the Carolinas will gather on Nov. 26-28 for the 27th annual Carolina Vegetable and Fruit Expo, held this year in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Conference Coordinator Bonnie Holloman says attendance for the annual event has climbed steadily over the past few years. A large exhibit hall, with more than 100 exhibitors will be a major part of the annual event.

Keynote speaker for the Expo is Richard Linton, recently appointed Dean of the College of Agriculture at North Carolina State University. In addition to his administrative roles, Linton is a highly respected expert in the area of food safety.

Something new for this year’s expo will be an auction of vegetables provided by Carolina growers. A number of grocery stores will be competing for the products and the proceeds will be used to promote the Carolina vegetable industry and for research conducted on fruit and vegetable crops.

The meeting begins with presentations by the North Carolina and South Carolina Vegetable Growers Association leaders. Master of Ceremonies for the opening event is Kendall Hill, chairman of the North Carolina Association and co-owner and operator of Tull Hill Farms, a large, diverse vegetable farming operation in Kinston, N.C.

Holloman points out that this event is truly a growers meeting. Though a large number of vendors and industry leaders attend, the bulk of attendance is from active fruit and vegetable growers in North and South Carolina.

Food safety is a highlight of this year’s expo. A number of food safety experts from the Carolinas and other parts of the country will make presentations during this year’s event.

Highlight of the Expo is traditionally presentations, called learning sessions, by fruit and vegetable experts, including university research and Extension leaders, agri-business leaders and farmers, who have excelled in some particular area of fruit and vegetable production in the Carolinas and surrounding states.