"We approached several top Florida-based chefs with an invitation to share their favorite Florida strawberry recipe in support of this program. In return, the Association and the chefs themselves will publicize the program by distributing several thousand, high-quality, oversize postcards. Each of five postcards features one of the chefs along with photographs and his strawberry recipe. We are encouraging consumers and culinary professionals to visit our new culinary blog http://www.strawberrysue.com. The postcards will also be featured there," said Sue Harrell, director of marketing for FSGA.
"We are overwhelmed with the response from some of our state's superstar chefs. We hope to expand the program in the future. Greater production this year necessarily required enhanced marketing efforts to create awareness and increase sales. One of the ways we're taking on the challenge is by reaching out to chefs and asking them to assist in showcasing our industry.
"Establishing relationships with executive chefs, research and product development experts and chef instructors who teach in accredited culinary academies are the best ways possible to spread the word about our special strawberries throughout the foodservice industry. We're focusing on educating both seasoned chefs and the chefs of tomorrow about our industry from the farm to the table. Establishing and nurturing these valuable relationships is an integral program designed to develop new markets today and maintain them in the future," Harrell concluded.
The participating chefs are -
• Jason Gronlund, Senior Director of Culinary R&D, Hard Rock Cafe International
• Judson McLester, Executive Chef/Ingredients Sales Manager, McIlhenny Company Tabasco® Brand Products
• J. Hugh McEvoy, The Enlightened Chef™ culinary consultant, author
• Justin Patrick Timineri, CEC® Executive Chef/Culinary Ambassador, State of Florida Department of Agriculture
• Norman Van Aken, Director of Restaurants, Miami Culinary Institute/TUYO, founder, NORMAN's at The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, cookbook author
States east of the Mississippi are target markets for fresh-crop Florida strawberries. The industry is also exporting Florida strawberries to buyers in Europe and Canada. Fresh Florida strawberries are available each year from Thanksgiving through Easter, given strong market demand and positive weather conditions during harvest.
Editor note: Interviews with FSGA executives may be arranged. FSGA is a voluntary, non-profit organization of Florida strawberry growers who support research, education and promotion.
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The Florida Strawberry Growers Association, a 501(c)5 non-profit organization located in Dover, is the parent company of the Florida Strawberry Patent Service and the Florida Strawberry Research and Education Foundation.