Highlights from the 2019 PMA Fresh Market

Highlights from the 2019 PMA Fresh Market

I just returned from the 2019 PMA Fresh Summit. It was a lot to see and digest, but here are my initial trend picks for the show. I’ll have individual product features coming up in the new few weeks. 

Winner of the THRIVE Summit Challenge

ProteoSense, an Ohio-based startup, as the winner of the THRIVE Fresh Summit Challenge and recipient of a coveted spot in the THRIVE VI Accelerator Program focused on accelerating companies with the best-emerging technologies to advance the future of food and agriculture. ProteoSense is commercializing a solid-state biosensor technology for food safety testing, RapidScan™, a high-sensitivity, field-portable system to detect foodborne pathogens without incubation and reducing test time from days to minutes.


Sustainable Packaging

Several exhibitors displayed their biodegradable or sustainable packaging, but Mucci Farms had packaging that fired on all cylinders. They even won the Fresh Summit 2019 Best Sustainable Packaging Award.

The packaging is completely plastic-free, which is EXACTLY what the consumer has been asking for. The package is composed of a tray made from agricultural waste. The lidding film is made of sugar-cane and wood fibers using a process that emphasizes social and environmental responsibility.

Fresh MarketFood Hits

Mushrooms are busting out of the dark and into the light in many functional food forms. From mushroom jerky, air-dried mushroom snacks to plant-based (fungus-based?)  ‘pulled pork’. Some of my favorites from the PMA Fresh Summit:

Giorgio has a tasty vegan portabella mushroom ‘pulled pork’ concept coming out in about 6 weeks. I’ll be sure to look for it, as it would be excellent as a standalone sandwich, or added to a vegan chili. It’s tasty, tangy and has a great BBQ flavor.

Shrooms has created an addicting portabella mushroom jerky in a variety of enticing flavors like roasted teriyaki and pizza. This is a flavorful, healthy snack food that I could eat all day long and not feel any guilt! There are no artificial ingredients and it’s minimally processed.

Guans is also launching an air-dried mushroom ‘crisp’. As a large mushroom grower, they offer varieties of mushrooms and they are more ‘intact’ in shape soI can identify the difference between a shitake and an oyster mushroom. They are fun as a topping, or as a snack.

I hope to be playing with these mushroom products soon in some blog posts to demonstrate different ways to enjoy these new products.




Carribean avocados are making a move in the Western market. They have a smoother skin, and they are typically much bigger than a Haas avocado. Desbry Farms is growing these beauties in Florida, so keep your eyes peeled!

The texture is creamy and juicier. Look for them in your local markets, or ask if Tropical Avos are on their way?

Fermented foods

The west coast wants the east to try more KimChi and the east coast wants the west to eat more Sauerkraut. I say, eat both – If you like one, you’ll most likely love the other, and both are great for you and will add a lot more flavor dimension to mealtime! Two brands nailing their craft:

Cleveland Kraut – flavorful, unique and gourmet combinations. They ferment old school – which means, raw, unpasteurized and lacto-fermented Sauerkraut full of natural probiotics, nutrients, and flavor.

You’ll Cleveland Kraut in the refrigerated section in your local markets – visit their website to find out locations. 

Naysoya Kimchi – The spicy kimchi is very tasty, but it’s a different taste than sauerkraut. It’s a combination of Napa cabbage, radish, red pepper powder, pear, garlic, salt and is not as ‘tart’ as sauerkraut.

Nasoya also doesn’t use heat to make their product, and it too is made in the authentic Korean way of fermentation. The process results in a one-of-a-kind authentic Korean kimchi packed with probiotics, essential amino acids and minerals.

Nut based dips

Fresh Cravings Nut Dips – These nutrient-dense dips are packed with protein and spicy flavored dips that are very versatile.

These indulgent dips are packed with superfoods like chia seeds, hemp seeds, cashews and almonds but free from dairy, gluten, artificial preservatives, and added sugars—perfect to satisfy any craving.

I didn’t intend on wandering into the floral section, but the enchanting scents of blooms lured me in. I’m so glad I did because I learned so much!

Fun fact – Amaryllis was always the ‘Christmas’ flower to me as I thought they only bloomed around December. It’s all a lie! Amaryllis can bloom ANY time of the year, as growers can use temperatures in storage to force or subdue growth.

Amaryllis flowers are sturdy, gorgeous and would add to any living centerpiece or cut arrangement any time of the year. White amaryllis flowers for summer weddings! Absolutely! I have some bulbs from Bloomaker, so I hope to feature them here once they start to flower.

I love seeing hearty cut plants in floral arrangements. Not only do they last a long time, but they look earthy and beautiful. So just a thought, but one San Diego grower, Dramm Echter Farms,  asked what I thought of THIS as a floral filler or addition?

WOW – you mean, Pot!? This green Mary Janey type of plant is actually HEMP (not the THC get ya high type), but yes it looks virtually the same. Hemp as a flower filler is incredibly fun, creative and would be great to add to any sustainable event, wedding, foodie event, etc.


That’s the first rundown of the PMA Fresh Summit! I’ll have more product highlights in the next few weeks.