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Recognizing the best of the best

Headshot of C. James Carr, President & CEO of Produce Blue Book.

Recognition in business comes in many forms—a pat on the back, a raise, promotion, a thank you.

For businesses in the produce industry, arguably the highest form of recognition is being named a Trading Member or Transportation Member.

Why is this recognition thought to be so prestigious? Because it is earned. A stringent process is required, involving time in business, a strong financial position, and a high level of trade feedback, acknowledging that a business’ trade practices rating and pay are among the best in the industry. Once earned, Trading Membership must continue to be merited.

The oldest Trading Member is 102 years old. A rare feat to be sure. The percentage of Trading Members and Transportation Members to the total number of listings is only 7.6%.

Recently, we received a letter from a Trading Member, which said in part: “We are very proud of being a Blue Book Trading Member for 25 years.” The letter speaks to the key component about being designated as one of the best; it is the “pride” that the ownership and management feel about having earned the right to be named a Trading Member.

If you earn something, you value it. When you continue to earn something, you value it even more.

It has been well documented that the produce industry is rare, in that trade is done over the phone, with thousands of dollars at stake, based only on a Blue Book rating.

The industry accepts that a firm’s rating speaks to its trustworthiness and ability to satisfy a verbal contract. The so-called verbal handshake is a hallmark of the buying and selling of produce and the transportation of product. It puts trust and integrity at the head of any other criteria.

Congratulations to the best of the best.


Jim Carr is the President and CEO of Blue Book Services Inc.