Produce Industry Braces for Mexico Border Shutdown

  1. Produce Industry Braces for Mexico Border Shutdown

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    In an effort to stop illegal immigration, President Trump threatened to shut down trade from Mexico last Friday, March 29th. Produce growers, shippers, wholesalers and retailers across North America are bracing for the impact this decision would have on our economy, a drastic measure that would disrupt the flow of food imports in the U.S. from Mexico.

    “You couldn’t pick a worse time of year because Mexico supplies virtually 100 percent of the avocados in the U.S. right now,” said Mission Produce CEO Steve Barnard, in an article from USA Today.

    Avocados, tomatoes, berries, peppers – some of our most favorite fruits and vegetables are imported from Mexico.

    Top Imports from Mexico (2017):

    Avocados: $2.3 billion

    Berries: $2 billion

    Tomatoes: $1.8 billion

    Peppers: $1 billion

    President Trump has not announced a deadline as to when this decision would be enforced; however it highlights the importance of agricultural literacy in our own communities. Where our food is grown, and how it gets to our stores is a process many Americans know little about. They experience food as an industrial product that doesn’t look much like the original animal or plant.

    Education is key in understanding the impact agriculture has on our own local economy. Did you know one in every four jobs in Monterey County is dependent on agriculture? Visit the Monterey County Farm Bureau for facts, resources, and opportunities to participate in local farming organizations.



  2. Accolades for Consistent Excellence in Ag

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    We are excited to share that TMD has been honored by several award competitions for their work with companies in the fresh food and agriculture industries, including Ocean Mist Farms, Taylor Farms, the California Agriculture Leadership Foundation, Del Rey Avocado, Berry People, and Olinday Farms.

    Marc Metzer, a third-generation farmer of Metzer Farms, approached TMD with the idea of starting a new company that would focus on providing duck eggs to the foodservice and retail markets.

    From day one, TMD has been integral in establishing a strategy for the launch of Olinday Farms, allowing me to focus my time on developing relationships with my own customers. From our company name and logo design, to retail packaging and video production, the TMD team has brought nothing but positive attention to Olinday Farms and the values we stand for.

    – Marc Metzer, President of Olinday Farms

    Please see below for the full list of accolades.

    Marcom Awards
    Berry People: Packaging Design
    Del Rey Avocado: Website Design

    Davey Awards
    Berry People: Packaging Design
    Del Rey Avocado: Website Design

    Summit International Awards
    Olinday Farms: Logo Design
    Olinday Farms: Website Design

    VMA Showcase Awards
    Cal Ag Leadership Foundation: Annual Report Design

    Vega Digital Awards
    Del Rey Avocado: “Fair Trade” Video
    Ocean Mist Farms: “Cut to Cool” Video
    Taylor Farms: E-Blast Campaign
    Organic Produce Summit: Collateral Design

  3. TMD Sponsors Fifth Annual Ag Tech Summit

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    TMD is proud to be a sponsor of the Fifth Annual Salinas Valley Ag Tech Summit. Hosted by Hartnell College’s Agriculture Business and Technology Institute in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Chapter of the California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA), the event will take place on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm at Hartnell College’s Main Campus located at 411 Central Avenue, Salinas, CA.

    The event has been so successful that it has doubled in size every year. Our very own president, Nick Pasculli, is a member of the Ag Tech Summit Advisory Committee. He explains, “We have intentionally moved to the main campus to accommodate this growth and emphasize the connection of STEM and Agriculture as Hartnell prepares students to be leaders contributing to the creation and implementation of Ag tech solutions throughout the entire supply chain within a global agriculture marketplace.”

    Two educational tracks are specific to continuing education credit hours in the areas of laws and regulations, new technologies for pest management, aerial Ag tech, understanding bee behavior/vulnerability, increasing student interest in related Ag careers, and much more. A third educational track addresses overarching Ag technologies with respect to rural broadband, food safety, robotics and ergonomics, mechanization, and harvest assist technologies.

    In addition to the three educational tracks, the event will feature an all-day trade show and Ag tech product/service demonstrations. Included in the trade show will be the Monterey CAPCA’s booth featuring an internship and job portal for employers seeking new employees/interns and students seeking jobs or internships. A pitch competition room is also available for those with new Ag tech ideas and/or start-up companies looking for investors and implementers.

    Dr. Bob Whitaker of the Produce Marketing Association will lead off with the morning keynote presentation and Robert L. Gunther of United Fresh Produce Association will provide the afternoon keynote presentation.

    Admission to the event is free and includes a sponsored lunch. Growers, PCAs, CCAs, QALs, pilots, students, growers, and members of the Ag tech and software industries are encouraged to attend. Agriculture professionals with PCA, QAL or QAC certifications will receive ongoing education credits by the Department of Pesticide Regulation for attendance.

    Our team encourages you to join us, and register for the event here.



  4. Introducing TMD Tech Solutions

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    The marketing industry is constantly evolving, causing more and more organizations to need customized technical solutions. As our team continued to create custom applications for our clients, it became clear that there was a market for industry-specific applications on a large scale.

    The industries initially being serviced by TMD Technology Solutions are agriculture, food and beverage processing, and nonprofit foundations, including community foundations, educational institution foundations, and other foundations with multiple ongoing fundraising campaigns. The three products currently available from TMD Technology Solutions include SpecFresh, Kiptraq, and the Gives App.

    Learn more about these new applications at

  5. Case Study: Organic Produce Summit 2017

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    TMD Creative was approached in the spring of 2015 with an interesting idea: starting the first tradeshow solely dedicated to fresh organic produce, now a $14 billion dollar industry that continues to grow.

    There have been numerous tradeshows focusing on organic food, but none that have focused exclusively on organic fruits and vegetables. As an experienced marketing firm in the agriculture industry, TMD Creative quickly became a member of the Organic Produce Summit team, presenting the inaugural show in July of 2016. It was an instant success, selling out weeks in advance, and hosting a large number of exhibitors, retail buyers, and heavyweight keynote speakers.

    Organic produce companies from across the country exhibit their products at the annual Organic Produce Summit. The team from Bako Sweet is featured above.

    The second annual Organic Produce Summit needed to build off the momentum of the first, while attempting to increase the size of the event. The original plan was to move the show to the new Monterey Convention Center in order to accommodate the larger number of attendees and exhibitors. The Convention Center was under construction when we agreed to terms with them, and was supposed to open in the spring of 2017.

    However, as construction delays mounted, we pushed the team at the Convention Center on their ability to host the event. We quickly moved to a backup plan, and ended up at our original location at the Hyatt Conference Center, the largest event space available in Monterey with the new Convention Center still under construction.

    In order to attract a larger group of organic produce growers this year, we needed to entice a large group of high volume, well-respected buyers. And in order to attract these buyers, we needed an outstanding group of industry thought leaders that would speak and engage in TED-style talks, in addition to educational sessions presented by keynote speakers. We also offered incentives to the buyers, like complimentary airfare and lodging.

    The Hyatt Conference Center could hold over eighty 10’ x 10’ exhibit booths, and we had planned on having 950 attendees. While the location was being secured, TMD Creative began to work on branding the Organic Produce Summit, updating their website, and marketing the show to the fresh produce industry through press releases, e-blasts, print and digital ads, and social media.

    TMD Creative designs responsive website for the annual Organic Produce Summit.

    The show sold out again this year with a 45% increase in attendees and 30% increase in the number of exhibitors. Revenue rose over 50% compared to the first year, and budgets were adhered to, keeping costs close to first-year levels.

    Buzz for the event grew quickly. The Organic Produce Summit team wanted to differentiate themselves from other tradeshows by promoting their sponsors in unique ways. TMD Creative developed a series of algorithms to show sponsors their AVE (Average Value Equivalency), or the value of the advertising and public relations exposure they received for their sponsorship. Since the first show debuted in 2016, TMD Creative has been responsible for developing and implementing these algorithms, creating a viable formula for calculating the value of the various mediums that were being employed to promote the event.

    TMD Creative designs exterior and interior signage for the Organic Produce Summit.

    As soon as the updated website was launched, it immediately cultivated registrations from growers, buyers, and organic produce companies interested in exhibiting their products. Our marketing campaign targeted buyers first through a mix of e-mail newsletters and customized ads. We then focused on attracting exhibitors and growers.

    Hundreds of people were turned away in the final month, as the Hyatt Conference Center had reached its capacity. To prepare for the show, TMD Creative designed and produced signage, media presentations, and printed programs. Post-event advertisements were also created to thank sponsors for their support, and surveys were sent to attendees to gather feedback.

    The sold-out Organic Produce Summit garners press from industry news outlets across the country.

    The annual Organic Produce Summit sold out again in its second year, successfully engaging members of the fresh produce industry from across the country. Post-event surveys have shown there is a high level of satisfaction among attendees.

    “This is an incredible second year for the Organic Produce Summit,” said Ocean Mist’s Director of Marketing, Diana McClean in an interview with And Now U Know. “The caliber of retailers that we have been able to meet with is off the charts. This is a concentrated, quality group of the best of the industry. The sessions were extremely provocative and insightful which is something we really want in our industry because it is new and different.”

    The event has garnered positive press on a national scale, inspiring industry news outlets such as And Now U Know, The Produce News and The Packer to publish articles. Due to its success, plans are underway to move the show to the new Monterey Conference Center in 2018, a larger venue located in downtown Monterey.

  6. TMD’s Nick Pasculli Receives Ag Tech Innovator Award

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    Nick Pasculli was awarded the Ag Tech Innovator Award at the 2017 Salinas Valley Ag Tech Summit on Hartnell’s Alisal Campus. The award, presented by the Hartnell College Agriculture Business and Technology Institute, was to honor Pasculli’s continued support of the ag industry, as well as his success in cultivating a deepening relationship between technology and agriculture.

    The event is hosted by the Agricultural Business and Technology Institute at Hartnell College in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Chapter of the CA Association of Pest Control Advisors (CAPCA). The summit features a wide variety of speakers and panel presentations on the topics of crop protection, automation, harvest, innovation, worker safety and regulations. There are also displays, demonstrations and breakout sessions. Admission to this yearly event is free and proceeds benefit the Hartnell College Alisal Campus.

    Sam Spadoni was on-hand to accept the award on Pasculli’s behalf. The award was presented by California State Treasurer John Chiang, former mayor and current executive director of the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology Dennis Donohue, owner of Converted Organics and sitting Salinas City Council Member Steve McShane, and Dr. Susan Pheasant, Director of the Hartnell College Agriculture Business and Technology Institute.

    Nick Pasculli, in addition to being the founder and president of TMD Creative, is also an instructor at Hartnell College in ag business, marketing, and economics. Additionally, he sits on numerous industry and community boards, including the Hartnell College Foundation board. Congrats Nick!

  7. TMD’s Nick Pasculli Honored for Inspiring Career

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    On Jan. 27, the Monterey Bay Business Hall of Fame added 25-year ag veteran Nick Pasculli, founder, president and creative director for Salinas, CA-based TMD Creative, to its hallowed halls.

    “It’s very special. It’s a mixed thing, because on a certain level I don’t know I deserve it, but I’m glad someone out there thinks I do,” Pasculli said. “It’s humbling for sure. When you get recognized like this, in any shape or form, you feel a certain responsibility to those who not only nominated you and selected you, but the community in general to live up to those expectations that got you the recognition.”

    Each year, Junior Achievement of Northern California honors business and community leaders from the Monterey Bay area who have established a legacy of excellence within their industries and created a significant impact on their communities.

    “This is our 12th class of the Business Hall of Fame. Our selection committee looks for individuals who have demonstrated a legacy of business success as well as industry and community leadership,” said Taran Barca-Hall, regional director, central coast, for Junior Achievement of Northern California, serving Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. “They must demonstrate innovation and excellence in their field with an emphasis on ethical business practices and community involvement.”

    With that in mind, the selection committee found Pasculli to be a perfect fit, and he was among those who were honored in the Class of 2017. Pasculli has long been a big believer in the marriage of creativity and strategy, and tries each day to make a difference and help other organizations to be successful.

    “He has a great story,” Barca-Hall said. “Nick has really built a niche for himself within the ag industry, which is such a big part of the Monterey County economy and he’s become the go-to leader in his field here. For him to start that company less than 20 years ago on his own and build it to what it is today is just an inspiring story.”

    Pasculli first learned of the honor when someone on the committee invited him for lunch, which he thought was simply a birthday get-together, and others from the Junior Achievement started to show up so he knew something was up.

    “They told me I had been nominated and I was speechless,” Pasculli said. “I had to keep it a secret and as I reflected on it, I thought to myself, ‘whoever I’ve become, the foundation was laid a long time ago and I would have to go back to my parents, where I learned by work ethic.’ My dad was in the produce industry for many years and my mom was a substitute teacher and PTA president, and was always involved in things.”

    In Pasculli’s mind, the award was more for them than for himself, and that came out in his speech on the day he was presented with the award.

    “It was important to me to recognize the people who helped me get to the place I was at this point in my life,” he said. “It was not so much about me and my accomplishments, but more a testament to my parents and mentors and those in the industry that have helped me get here.”

    At the luncheon, Pasculli was joined by his parents, spouse and children, his TMD family and many friends from around the industry. Bishops Garcia and Ryan from the Monterey Catholic Diocese were also on hand to share in his special day.

    “At the induction ceremony, some students were recognized for their academic achievements and philanthropic achievements, and that’s what makes this thing so rich,” Pasculli said. “We get to witness what the young people are doing, but they also get to see what us old timers are doing and I think there’s a mutual dose of inspiration.”

    By Keith Loria | The Produce News

  8. TMD Creative Takes ‘Organic’ Approach to Cross-Media

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    When the Organic Produce Summit decided to hold its inaugural convention and exhibition in July 2016, organizers had a major challenge on their hands. Though the organic movement was as popular as ever, the event itself was virtually unknown. Not only did organizers have to introduce people to the expo, but they also had to appeal to a diverse audience ranging from organic purists to companies just beginning to walk the organic walk.

    To drum up excitement for the pioneering event, organizers turned to Salinas, Calif. marketing firm TMD Creative. “We had to come up with a strategy that would appeal to everyone,” says TMD Creative Founder Nicholas M. Pasculli. Their approach was as fresh and appealing as the industry they sought to describe.

    Read the full article here

  9. TMD Wins MarCom Awards

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    TMD is honored to have been recognized with a MarCom Platinum award in the integrated marketing campaign category for our work on the il Organic Produce Summit. The award garnered national recognition in top industry publications such as The Produce News and AndNowUKnow.


    Organic Produce Summit, Platinum Award Winner

    The MarCom awards are given out by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals’ judges, who are composed of industry veterans from leading agencies and prominent companies and organizations throughout the United States. Numerous Fortune 500 companies and world-famous organizations have won these prestigious awards. This year, other Platinum winners in various categories included AIG, Bank of America, Bloomberg Media, Cisco, and The Smithsonian.

    The integrated campaign included print and ad design, copywriting, web design and programming, e-commerce, social media management, public relations, press releases, e-blasts, as well as designing and producing signage and branded promotional materials for the event.


    Hartnell College Report to the Community, Platinum Winner

    Competing against nearly 6,000 entries, TMD Creative’s work on the Organic Produce Summit stood out for its design, strategy, and execution. The success of the initial show was evident, with over 800 attendees and more than 70 exhibitors, turning the summit into a huge hit within the produce industry.

    The Organic Produce Summit is the first trade show solely dedicated to organic fresh produce, an industry approaching $15 billion a year. Next year’s summit is poised to be even bigger, as the show will move to the newly renovated Monterey Conference Center.


    Taylor Farms Deli, Business to Business Gold Winner

    TMD’s owner and president, Nick Pasculli said about the event, “When we were initially approached with this idea, it was a team of two people with a dream about putting on a first-of-its-kind trade show focused on organic produce. TMD is proud to have worked on not only the marketing aspect, but helping to build the foundation for this trade show from the ground up. The results have been spectacular, this award is the icing on the cake”.

    In addition to winning a Platinum MarCom award for the integrated marketing campaign for Organic Produce Summit, TMD was also proud to win Platinum MarCom awards for two annual reports. The awards were for their work on Hartnell College’s Report to the Community, and Dominican Hospital’s Impact Report 2016, which won in the Educational Institution and Medical categories respectively.


  10. How to Start and Put On a Trade Show: A Strategic Marketing Perspective of the Organic Produce Summit

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    A Great Success – The 2016 Organic Produce Summit

    How do you tell the story of fresh produce? The “farm-to-table” movement is far from over; millions of Americans care now more than ever about where their food comes from and whether their produce is organic. Here at TMD Creative, we are dedicated to telling the story of produce, and have been doing so since 1999. So it was natural for us to be extremely excited to work with the Organic Produce Summit in marketing the inaugural convention and exhibition that debuted on July 13th and 14th at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey. As the event’s first strategic marketing partner, we led the development and execution of a dynamic marketing campaign that resulted in the show selling out in its introductory year, with attendance from retailers, buyers, and growers/shippers from across North America.

    TMD Creative and Organic Produce Summit Partnership

    “Having worked with TMD Creative for many years, I was able to instantly see their touch on the Organic Produce Summit. The strategy they executed, along with simple, beautiful design, successfully turned OPS into the industry show of the year.” – Gabriela D’Arrigo, Director of Marketing, D’Arrigo New York

    TMD Creative prides itself in innovative, custom, in-house marketing services. From start to finish, TMD Creative believes in collaborating closely with our clients to insure customer satisfaction and the best marketing results. From website programming and design to social media and public relations, our TMD team collaborated closely with the OPS event staff in executing a well-designed, comprehensive marketing plan. For the first time ever, retailers and buyers were able to network and convene on important issues and opportunities in the organic fresh produce industry.

    The Process

    TMD Creative was approached in the spring of 2015 about assisting in developing the strategy and messaging for the first of its kind summit devoted strictly to organic produce. As a team we were surprised to hear that organic produce, a stand-alone 14 billion dollar industry, did not have a trade show focusing on it. We were instantly excited about the possibility of being a part of this and signed on shortly thereafter.

    A group composed of executive produce industry veterans, including TMD’s own Nicholas Pasculli, worked with team at TMD Creative to bring this idea to reality. TMD Creative was there every step of the way, in developing not only the strategy, but bringing on key team members to oversee production and management of the show, accommodations, logistics, and planning.


    Our first strategic priority was to drum up support with retailers, and to sign-on exciting keynote speakers and panelists to take part in Ted-Style Talks. We reached out to the retailers with a coordinated series of e-blasts, individual emails, and phone calls to high volume retailers that had high organic sales.

    We assisted in developing the Ted-Style talk format for the show. Once we had a firm foundation there we began working on the branding, including the logo, which was to be the center-piece of the marketing efforts. Initially 12 logos were designed. It was narrowed down to four, then two, and finally one, with varying revisions throughout.

    Once the logo was designed, we began to create e-blasts, print ads, web ads, collateral, and the website.

    Initial Advertising

    The e-blasts were customized for retailers, registrants, and exhibitors using the OPS Logo along with colors that complemented the logo and were a part of the color palette. The ads were run in produce industry newspapers and magazines, and were designed in a variety of sizes, with accompanying web ads. The goals of the e-blasts and of the ads were to both drum up support and interest in the event, while also conveying the limited amount of availability and time left to the event.

    The website was custom built with the ability to register as a retailer, or to register as a grower or someone in supporting industry. This distinction was important, as there were different pricing mechanisms in place. There was also tiered pricing in each level that allowed for discount for multiple purchases. Anyone who registered on the site also received a confirmation email. Exhibitors were also able to register to have a 10 x 10 booth at the event. The registrations and the exhibits quickly sold out.

    The Event

    We then started to focus on materials for the show, which included, but were definitely not limited to, badges, custom gifts, event program, all show signage, registration areas, audio/visual, site walkthroughs, recognizing sponsors, PowerPoint presentations, post-event survey, and thank you ads for the sponsors and attendees to run after the event in industry publications.

    Everyone at TMD Creative was putting in long-hours the weeks leading up to the show. All of the hard work paid off. There was an opening reception on Wednesday, July 13th, with the main event on Thursday, July 14th 2016. Held at the Hyatt Conference Center in Monterey, there were over 75 exhibits, 800+ attendees, including growers and representatives of the world’s largest retailers, and a full days-worth of speakers, presentations, and trade show exhibits. The show was a rousing success, and the feedback thus far has been nothing short of amazing.

    Details are already being finalized for the 2017 Organic Produce Summit.

    Are you considering putting on a trade show or large event? Remember to keep TMD Creative in mind!