Agriculture Press Release

May 4, 1998

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

What's red, white and blue and consumed all over? Watermelons, sweet corn and blueberries -- all "Fresh from Florida" and ready for Memorial Day festivities.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has launched a special "Red, White and Blue" promotion to feature three of Florida's major springtime crops. 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 a distinctive logo, depicting a sun over land and water, to identify Florida products. Many retail stores also use point-of-purchase materials that feature the colorful logo. In addition, radio, television, print and billboard advertising is utilized to promote Florida agriculture.

"There has been an enthusiastic support by the industry during the eight years that the FAPC has been in existence," Crawford said. "As a result, we have seen the Fresh from Florida logo become an increasingly popular symbol of Florida agriculture."

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 following a 13 percent increase in estimated planted acreage to 34,000 acres. Florida ranks No. 2 in the nation in watermelon production.

Florida leads the nation in the production of fresh sweet corn, with the crop harvested from more than 42,000 acres and valued at $123.7 million in the 1996-97 season.

So, show off the red, white and blue with these summer holiday favorites -- watermelon, sweet corn and blueberries. They're 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 or write:

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Division of Marketing and Development
421 Mayo Building
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0800


For More Information:

Ted Helms
(850) 488-9948

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