Initiating Industry Improvement

PRODUCE BUSINESS is unique in the produce trade, unique in format, content, and service to the industry. Nobody else does the kind of important work we do to help the produce industry. It is also unique in its people. Every other substantial publication in the trade was acquired by someone or some organization as a financial investment. PRODUCE BUSINESS stands alone, as the creation of those who run it. A publication brought to life in a conscious act of will by people who had something to say, a purpose to serve.

With this issue, we celebrate the completion of the eighth year of publication for PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine. And we do it with the team that launched this magazine still at the helm and the dreams that inspired it more vivid than ever.

For once upon a time, in what seems now like a time so long ago, we dreamed of creating a publication to serve the produce trade. A publication that would be driven by marketing, merchandising and management issues, that would write the piece others wouldn’t dare, or wouldn’t devote the resources to do it, a publication that would not merely be thorough but insightful, even wise.

Every month we reject loads of great articles that we don’t have room to run. So I think of every page of PRODUCE BUSINESS as a precious jewel, certainly never to be wasted. But once a year, on our anniversary, I like to take one page and use it to do the one thing that, in all the hustle and bustle of our lives, we all should take time out to do more often: To say a simple thank you.

PRODUCE BUSINESS has taken me around the globe, to speak, to do research, to meet with those in our industry and to learn. I have a wall filled with honors and citations. But a magazine is by its nature a team project, and its creation is less an act of will than one of persuasion.

So the obvious thank you has to go to those who create this monthly masterpiece, to all our associates and especially to Ken Whitacre, who was here at the creation and is this magazine’s publisher and my closest friend. His steady nature and incisive intellect are more responsible for our success than I like to let on.

It is easy to create a longer list. All those countless publishing people who took the time to teach a produce man a bit about publishing. And all those produce people who took a young guy under their wing and helped him out in making this a far better magazine than it would have been otherwise.

And of course, a word must be said for the advertisers. Advertising serves many purposes, to attract new customers, retain established relationships, motivate employees, attract new employees and build confidence in the trade. And, of course, we have been delivering these benefits and more to advertisers for eight years now.

But more than this, advertising is also a way of supporting an undertaking, and our advertisers, in supporting PRODUCE BUSINESS, have enabled us to provide a service to the trade that would have been inconceivable otherwise. In this sense, every advertiser in PRODUCE BUSINESS is not merely trying to boost their own business but is also performing an act of noble service to the trade.

But, as with any magazine, the most important “partners” in our success have been you, the readers of this page, the readers of PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine. No matter how hard we worked, no matter how fine our writing, no matter what our subject, the work would have all been in vain without your willingness to be inspired, challenged, intrigued and informed. A magazine is lifeless, powerless, a few cents worth of ink and paper until a reader reads it. Only then does it live and have the power to change a business, reform an industry, even save the world.

PRODUCE BUSINESS was launched at the PMA’s convention in San Francisco in 1985. This issue is being distributed at the PMA convention in Washington, D.C., so in eight years we’ve traveled across the country and across the hearts and minds of thousands of produce professionals.

For the future, I promise that we will be not merely a record of events in this trade, but will be the initiator of improvements. To have a reader is such a precious privilege that I can pledge that all of us here at PRODUCE BUSINESS will diligently endeavor to be worthy of your time and of your trust.

It is often best to end where we have begun and so I hope you will not begrudge me this moment to thank those who were there at my beginnings for, throughout the challenges and ecstasies of these past eight years, it is the values I was taught as a child that has sustained me. I grew up in a produce family and I think that to be a great and enduring advantage in life, for it teaches one the perishability of good things and the need for constant vigilance in caring for the special things life provides. I suppose I like to think myself as springing forth wholly formed, but it is my parents who have nurtured and supported me from day one. My gratitude is inexpressible.

On this eighth anniversary, let me say simply and humbly, thank you to all those who have made PRODUCE BUSINESS a part of their lives.