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Once again Grand Rapids is home to the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo and the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo. Over 4000 people from 42 states and seven Canadian provinces registered for the 2012 expo. GLEXPO is always a favorite show to attend to pick up ideas to help food and agricultural product entrepreneurs market their products. Featuring three days of workshops and breakout sessions such as ‘The Next Big Thing in Farm Marketing’ and ‘Facebook and Beyond – the Next Generation of Social Media for Farm Marketers’, GLEXPO provides the often cash-strapped farm marketer and seasonal vendor an opportunity to maximize their time and finances to grow their business.

Outside the marketing sessions, GLEXPO also features many vendors showcasing new and exciting products available for retailing opportunities at farm markets. One peculiar item showing this year is ‘Barf in a Jar’ from Scherger’s Kettle out of Shipshewana, Indian. Apparently according to the gentlemen sampling many of their jams and jellies, ‘Barf in a Jar’ started out as peach salsa until they experimented with adding coconut to the ingredient list, eliciting the reaction of one of the ‘jam team’ to say what she thought it looked like.

A large selection of exhibitors also offers private labeling services for those entrepreneurs who need more assistance in growing their production capability.

One of the most interesting exhibitors is Characters Unlimited out of Las Vegas that manufacture life-size characters that employ a wireless microphone for candid conversations with customers. The scarecrow is particularly a little too lifelike, but sure to create a draw.

From the dried kale chips to the homemade wooden baskets, this show has something for everyone. GLEXPO 2014 is scheduled for December 9-11 and more information is available at

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