Food show is networking gold for Capron peanut company

Published 8:59 am Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Patsy Marks, president of Belmont Peanuts of Southampton, will participate in the Summer Fancy Food Show July 10-12 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. -- Hattie Francis | Tidewater News

CAPRON—Belmont Peanuts of Southampton will participate in its third consecutive Summer Fancy Food Show on July 10-12 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

“It is for the specialty food trade,” said Belmont Peanuts President Patsy Marks. “It’s an opportunity for buyers all over the country, whether they are large or small, to come in and take a look at what companies have.”

According to Virginia Farm Bureau, about 40,000 attendees, including distributors, food writers, restaurateurs, retailers and wholesalers, are expected.

“These are people that buy for catalogs,” said Marks, whose Capron gourmet peanut company was founded in 1993. “These are people that just have any need for the product that we have.”

At the Summer Fancy Food Show, companies do not sell their products. Only samples are given, and they must not be taken out of the facility.

Orders can be taken; however, the show is primarily for creating relationships among companies.

“Most of the time, your orders come from following through with the leads that you get from the show,” Marks said.

Sometimes results are not immediate, and there may be times in which you have to work with a company for a year before the order actually comes through, she said.

“I feel like we’re so fortunate because the Virginia Department of Agriculture and the Virginia’s Finest actually offers a little co-op money if we’re attending,” Marks said.

At the Fancy Food Show, there is a Virginia Pavilion where some of the Virginia’s Finest companies gather. Companies may opt out of the pavilion and display their product on the larger floor.

“The Virginia’s Finest program, Lisa Lloyd, Olivia Wilson, they do a great job trying to attract buyers to come to the Virginia location,” Marks said. “I think the Virginia companies really do have a good reputation for the quality food they put out and have to offer.”

Once directed toward the Virginia location, buyers mingle through the pavilion and interact with Virginia’s Finest companies.

“I feel like the biggest potential is for the large or small companies that you would not get exposed to,” Marks said. “They have a chance to come by and sample our product and talk to us on a one-to-one basis.”

“It’s all about being there and having a presence,” she added.