Agriculture Press Release

April 24, 2000

Red, White and Blue For Your Barbecue
Watermelon, Sweet Corn and Blueberries Great For Holiday Cookouts

TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is launching its annual "Red, White and Blue for Your Barbecue" Memorial Day promotion featuring three of Floridas major springtime crops -- watermelons, sweet corn and blueberries. The promotion includes full-color newspaper ads in the food section prior to Memorial Day, radio advertisements, and posters and displays in supermarkets throughout the state.

"As they prepare for the first long holiday weekend of the summer, we want Floridians to focus on some of the delicious and nutritious foods grown here in the Sunshine State," Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford said. "These three commodities in particular serve to emphasize the patriotic nature of this holiday."

The special promotion is part of the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign (FAPC), an industry partnership program designed to boost the image of Florida agriculture and increase sales by helping consumers identify Florida agricultural products at retail stores. Those participating in the program are authorized to use the distinctive "Fresh from Florida" logo to identify Florida products.

Many residents and visitors may not be aware that blueberries are a high-value crop in Florida, which provides the country with the first fresh blueberries of the year. The crop is grown on more than 1,300 acres, from the Panhandle to Highlands County. After the commercial harvest, many blueberry growers open their farms for U-Pick customers.

A bountiful harvest of watermelons also is expected this spring on acreage of approximately 32,000 acres. Florida ranks No. 2 in the nation in watermelon production with a crop valued at $60 million in 1998.

Florida leads the nation in the production of fresh sweet corn, with the crop valued at more than $103 million harvested from 41,000 acres in 1998.

This is the third straight year for the successful "Red, White and Blue for Your Barbecue" statewide promotion. Point-of-purchase materials will begin showing up in major Florida retail supermarket chains in mid-May. Quarter-page, full-color ads will appear in major newspapers throughout the state on May 25.

"We are excited about this opportunity to work with our farmers in promoting their quality products," Crawford said. "This advertising promotion will alert consumers in our state to the availability of wholesome Fresh from Florida produce they can enjoy during Memorial Day festivities and beyond."

So, show off the "Red, White and Blue" with these summer holiday favorites -- watermelon, sweet corn and blueberries. Theyre all Fresh from Florida and perfect for your Memorial Day holiday barbecue.

For recipes featuring these Florida products, visit the "Marketing Florida Agriculture" Internet web site at www.fl-ag.com , call George Demetree at 850-488-4131, or write:

"Red White and Blue for Your Barbecue"
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Division of Marketing and Development
421 Mayo Building
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0800


For more information:
George Demetree
(850) 488-4131

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