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Continuing tradition, South Carolina hosts April EPC meeting

PATERSON, NJ — South Carolina hosted the Eastern Produce Council's April 22 dinner meeting, the 43rd time the state has done so. "We thank them for their continued support," EPC President Paul Kneeland, vice president of produce, floral, seafood and meat at Kings Food Markets and Balducci's Food Lovers Markets, said in his introductory remarks at the meeting, held here at The Brownstone.

South Carolina's delegation was led by Martin Eubanks, the state's assistant commissioner of agriculture, who has represented his state for many, many years at its annual journey north to host the EPC's April meeting.EPC916 Brian Sewall and Scott Knospe of Wakefern Food Corp. with Brendan Keating of Bozzuto's Inc.

In giving updates on the crop situation in their state, all of the host speakers touched on the late March freeze that hit parts of the South, including South Carolina.

Noting that "no two years are the same" regarding weather, Lynne Chappell, president of the South Carolina Peach Council, said that early varieties of peaches in some parts of her state were lost in the March 25 freeze. There will be "limited supplies of the early crop" from those affected areas, and production will be "later than normal."

In light of this situation, Eubanks stated, "Communication is vital in a year like this."

Angela O'Neal Chappell, president of the South Carolina Watermelon Association, said that some watermelons had to be replanted after the late March freeze but that for the most part, they "should be on time." That means retailers and other distributors should see plenty of South Carolina watermelons for the Fourth of July holiday period, as usual.

In EPC business, four directors were re-elected to three-year terms: Matthew D'Arrigo of D'Arrigo Bros. Company of New York Inc., Marianne Santo of Wakefern Food Corp., Greg Veneziano of Bozzuto's Inc. and Wendell Hahn of Four Seasons Produce Inc. The officers continue in their posts: Kneeland as president, Vic Savanello of Allegiance Retail Services as first vice president, Terry Murphy of Wakefern as second vice president, Rob Goldstein of Genpro Inc. as secretary and Sal Zacchia of RDD Associates as treasurer.

Kneeland stated that the council's dinner dance April 5 had been a great success and that the next two months will see a variety of events as the council wraps up its 2014 season.

On May 13, the council will hold its second meeting ever at the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, followed one week later when its May 20 meeting -- dubbed the Jersey Fresh cookout -- will take place at Demarest Farms in Hillsdale, NJ. Its 39th annual golf outing will take place June 7 at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, NJ. The council's final dinner meeting before its traditional summer break will take place June 24 at The Brownstone, hosted by Earthbound Farm and House Foods.