The award was presented at the 2003 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Nashville by the National Cotton Council of America on behalf of its National Cotton Women's Committee (NCWC). NCWC members modeled Fresh Produce Sportswear’s ’03 spring line as part of their annual Beltwide cotton fashion show.
The 2003 U.S. Cotton Champion Award recognizes Fresh Produce Sportswear’s commitment to the use of U.S.-grown cotton in its clothing.
NCWC officer Charlotte Mathis who operates "The Cotton Shop" boutique adjacent to a cotton gin she manages in Moultrie, GA, said her customers love the Fresh Produce Sportswear lines.
"Their clothing is comfortable, has neat colors and is made of quality U.S. cotton, which helps preserve the garment’s colorfastness," she said. "The U.S. cotton industry really appreciates Fresh Produce for their continued commitment to using U.S.-made cotton fabric - which still offers consumers the best value."
Fresh Produce Sportswear, a $50-million-plus operation, was founded in 1984 by Mary Ellen Vernon and her husband Thom. The couple and co-presidents share daily responsibility for running the company. Mary Ellen also titles as co-head designer with her twin sister Jennifer Haney. The twins design the spring and fall collection of women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, which feature warm and vibrant colors.
The team recently introduced a new clothing line for plus-sized women called Extra Fresh.
"The Fresh Produce lifestyle blends color and comfort throughout the year," said Mary Ellen. "For 18 years we’ve relied on cotton to provide the easy wear, durability and soft hand that our collections require and our customers demand."
The company’s wares are sold to more than 800 national and boutique retailers throughout North America, including Nordstrom and Walt Disney Parks. The clothing also is sold through the company’s retail division, which owns and operates stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Alabama and Florida.