Last night Ryan and I drove to St. Pete to drop Sadie off at my parents’ house before heading to Tampa where we spent the night because I had an early-morning wake up call for a special event!
A few months ago I was contacted by the marketing team in charge of Southern Exposure, a conference organized by the Southeast Produce Council, and asked to speak on a panel about the relationship between bloggers, produce companies and consumers.
We were asked all sorts of questions by audience members about a wide range of topics ranging from how brands can successfully reach out to bloggers and the benefits of social media to the world of blogging and marketing ideas.
I receive a bunch of press releases every day and only a few actually stick out to me (or even align with my blog!), so I had a lot of ideas to share and feedback to provide.
I majored in public relations in college and worked in the field for a few years, so I understand the game of mass-emailing press releases to people in hopes that someone will find your event or product interesting, but had a great time offering new ideas to the audience. I love discussing marketing (not sales!), public relations and blogging, so being on the panel was a blast!
The panel went really well and I loved speaking with a lot of the attendees and vendors afterwards.
After the session, the panelists were invited to attend a brunch late in the morning and I was even able to bring Ryan along as my guest!
Our meal started with fresh fruit which we ate while watching the keynote speaker, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam.
Commissioner Putnam previously served five terms as Congressman for Florida’s 12th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives and was a great public speaker. During his keynote address, there was unfortunately a lot of unplanned noise interruptions from the overhead speaker system. I know I would’ve been flustered, but he powered through and continued speaking with a great sense of humor.
The main course of the brunch included chicken, roasted potatoes, a stuffed tomato and green beans.
I ate everything but my tomato because it was just a lil’ funky.
Dessert included a slice of chocolate cake with coffee mousse and key lime pie. Ryan and I shared the two pieces, though I ate more than he did and found myself in quite the sugar coma!
And then it was time for the expo!
I didn’t really know what to expect when we were invited to attend the expo, but once we walked inside the large room in the Tampa convention center, I was blown away.
There were produce vendors and samples everywhere! I was so pumped to talk with the vendors and learn more about produce and fun food products.
Purple sweet potatoes!
Ugli fruit, a hybrid of a grapefruit and a tangelo, was delicious!
Ryan and I took advantage of the samples and filled two green bags full of food. I am currently so stuffed I could pop.
One of my favorite samples of the day came from Atlas’ Caramel Natural dates.
Oh my goodness, the coconut almond date rolls were fantastic. Ryan and I both loved them and left with a box that was already broken into on the car ride home.
Now I’m hoping to hang out and digest before packing in dinner. We’re spending the night at my parents’ house in St. Pete and my mom has a seafood feast planned. I cannot turn down clams and crab claws, so I’m really hoping my appetite returns soon!