On the third leg of our national issues trip, we arrived in New York to find that our route to our hotel was blocked by FDNY trucks no matter which way we turned. In true leadership fashion, Rochelle hopped out of the bus to get cars to move so we could turn around.
There truly is no other city like New York. It had a cool vibe and was definitely action packed.
Our first stop was at Baldor Foods. It is a fresh produce distribution center, which whole fruit and fresh cut fruit to hotels, airlines, restaurants, and retail outlets. We all suited up for food safety with our hair nets, beard nets, and coats.
Jim C., as he is affectionately called, is the director of sales and he provided a fast-paced informational tour of the facility and described the process from sales to logistics and distribution.
We saw many fruits and vegetables I have never even heard of before: horned melons and dragon fruit.
Our group was allowed to taste several fresh fruits. Here is Brent tasting a corn sprout. They were definitely different than anything I have ever tasted before, but with an increasingly global market, food products are coming in and being used in unique ways all the time.
We then headed to the Hunts Point Terminal Market, with services most of the Northeast for fresh produce. Ms. Myra Gordon is the executive director and gave us a tour of the facility and was willing to answer our questions.
One of the market stalls we visited had a color sorter for tomatoes that would be used to match up the ripeness of the tomatoes to the clients’ needs.
When we wrapped up our financial session, we were released to spend the last night of our session on our own.
I visited the site of the former World Trade Center. When my family visited in 2004, there was a gaping hole in the ground. Nine years later, Freedom Tower is still under construction and there is a memorial museum in place next to Fire Station 10, the “Ten House” as it’s called.
We had dinner and Junior’s “Best Cheesecake in New York” at Grand Central Terminal and wrapped up the night at Times Square.
We returned to Atlanta on Wednesday, July 24 with smiles on our faces and brains backed full of new ideas, leadership strategies, and swarming with names and faces of the more than 40 speakers and facilitators we met over ten days.
During our reflection, Rochelle made a good point. While we all have fun on these trips, it is important to thank and appreciate the ones we left behind to keep things running: our partners, children, supervisors, co-workers, friends and family, and of course the donors to our program, the administration that supports it, and Kristi and Rochelle that keeps it running. Their sacrifice to make this program a success should not go unrecognized. I know personally I have had such a strong support network and I couldn’t have done it without them.