PRODUCE GROUPS SPIN THEIR WAY ONTO WEB

Produce industry associations and commodity commissions are planting seeds in the Internet information superhighway.Within the last several weeks, the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del.; the California Strawberry Commission, Watsonville, Calif., and the California Avocado Commission, Santa Ana, Calif., have all gone on-line and are making produce-related information readily available on new

Produce industry associations and commodity commissions are planting seeds in the Internet information superhighway.

Within the last several weeks, the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del.; the California Strawberry Commission, Watsonville, Calif., and the California Avocado Commission, Santa Ana, Calif., have all gone on-line and are making produce-related information readily available on new electronic sites on the World Wide Web, a graphically oriented segment20of the Internet.

PMA's home page debuted on the Web earlier this month. The PMA page offers information about events, issues, products, services, the Floral Marketing Association and the Produce Electronic Identification Board. PMA's web site can be linked to the sites of members' home pages, according to the association.

PMA is also offering services to help members establish their own sites on the Internet.

"The cyber-jungle is dense, and we're hoping to help our members sort through it all," said Kathy Means, vice president of membership and public affairs. "Having the home page and helping members get on-line is part of PMA's strategic plan." The California Strawberry Commission has also set up shop on the Internet, with Web sites for both retailers and consumers.

The retail and food-service sites went on-line last month, and provide retailers with crop updates, a "farm tour" and other information, according to Teresa Thorne, communications director for the commission.

The commission set up its consumer site two weeks ago. Called "Strawberry Fields," the home page features recipe and usage ideas, general news and nutrition information. It also features the farm tour of California strawberry fields, according to the commission.

The California Avocado Commission has developed a site to provide retailers and wholesalers with tips on ripening, crop information, seasonal promotions and merchandising. The home page provides details on the commission's RipeMax! technical and merchandising program, according to the commission. The PMA home page can be accessed at http://www.pma.com. The California Strawberry Association's Web address is http://www.calstrawberry.com, and the California Avocado Commission's site is at http://www.avoinfo.com.