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G&R Farms announces new operations manager
Michael Sutton, who has more than 40 years of experience in the produce industry, has been named operations manager of G&R Farms, one of Georgia’s oldest growers of Vidalia sweet onions. During an impressive career with Georgia’s Federal State Inspection Service, Sutton earned certification as a produce inspector and auditor by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He served as a district supervisor with a broad range of responsibilities, including personnel... Read more
Anita Fial: An industry veteran you should know
For more than half a century, Anita Fial helped shape the way Americans thought about food, and how the fresh produce industry communicated to consumers. From avocados to radishes, tomatoes to sweet potatoes, and sweet corn to blueberries Anita Fial worked with grower and shipper organizations, family-owned brands and multi-national corporations. She helped grow consumption by getting people to rethink their relationship with food and the people that touch it along... Read more
Produce industry veteran John Lazopoulos Jr. takes on new role with World Fresh Produce
On Dec. 5, World Fresh Produce Inc., headquartered in Cherry Hill, NJ, announced that John Lazopoulos Jr., a produce industry veteran, had joined the leading grower, importer and shipper as vice president of operations. Lazopoulos started his nearly 40-year career in the fresh produce industry when he was still studying to earn his bachelor's degree in agriculture economics/agricultural business management — a double degree — from the University of Delaware... Read more
Pearson names Arizona Agriculturalist of the Year
The Arizona Department of Agriculture partnered with the Governor Doug Ducey’s office and gave out the Governor’s Awards for Agriculture on Dec. 2. Cindi Pearson was the recipient of the Arizona Agriculturist of the Year. Mark Killian, director of the Department of Agriculture, and Gilbert Davidson, chief operating officer for Governor Doug Ducey's office, presented the award.Gilbert Davidson, chief operating officer for Governor Doug Ducey's office; Mark Killian,... Read more
Produce marketing veteran joins Starr Ranch Growers
Krista Beckstead, a produce industry marketing veteran, joined Starr Ranch Growers as a marketing and brand specialist. In the new role for the company, Beckstead will work on brand strategy, product development and overall marketing activities. “We are thrilled to have Krista’s marketing and branding experience coupled with her produce industry insight as part of our team,” said Dan Davis, director of business development. “We are growing and expanding our business,... Read more
SEPC to honor Rick Estess at Southern Exposure
The Southeast Produce Council will present Rick Estess of RPE Inc. with its highest honor during the SEPC Southern Exposure conference and trade show at the end of February. Estess, business development manager at RPE, a vertically integrated category expert in potato and onion growth, will receive the Terry Vorhees Lifetime Achievement Award at the keynote brunch during Southern Exposure, set for Feb. 27-29, 2020, in Tampa, FL.Rick Estess David Sherrod, the council's... Read more
Eastside & Westside Markets' Olson retires after 43 years
Terry Olson hosted about 100 past employees at her Manhattan, KS, home on Nov. 24. This was the celebration of her retirement from owning and operating Eastside & Westside Markets. Olson has sold fresh produce and plants from these retail outlets since 1976. She began selling produce door to door as a child. As she ramped up her retail business as a young woman, she would drive 240 miles round-trip to Kansas City to buy from wholesalers. In Manhattan, the... Read more
Marni Karlin is the CEA Food Safety Coalition’s first executive director
The CEA Food Safety Coalition, comprised of leading controlled environment (CEA) leafy greens producers, has named Marni Karlin the organization's first executive director.Marni Karlin A seasoned public affairs expert with an extensive background in the food and agriculture industry, Karlin will work closely with coalition members, government agencies and industry experts to develop leading food safety standards for the CEA leafy greens industry. In addition to... Read more
Oppy promotes Roosdahl to vice president of operations
With a tenure of 24 years working up through the ranks at Oppy, Steve Roosdahl is taking on a new role as vice president of operations. Starting as an application developer in the IT department, Roosdahl has surpassed successive management positions since then adding responsibilities in transportation, manufacturing, quality control and operations, warehouse and inventory administration and most recently, sustainability, food safety and government relations and... Read more
Sunkist Growers hires new VP of strategy
Sunkist Growers recently hired citrus-industry veteran Matt Shekoyan to serve as vice president of strategy for the 126-year-old citrus cooperative and its sister co-op Fruit Growers Supply. In this new role, Shekoyan is working closely with both Sunkist and FGS to optimize and bring to life the companies’ strategic direction. “We’re excited to welcome Matt to the team,” said Jim Phillips, president and chief executive officer at Sunkist Growers and FGS. “This... Read more
Good Foods hires Malin Benicek as newest VP
Good Foods, a category leader of plant-based dips and good-for-you products, announced the hire of Malin Benicek as vice president of technical services. Benicek will lead the global food-safety initiatives as well as the quality-management strategies, programs and standards. Benicek brings more than 30 years of experience to his new role, having previously served as the executive vice president of quality assurance, food safety and regulatory affairs for Schuman... Read more
Ryan Talley elected new Western Growers chairman of the board
Western Growers announced that Ryan Talley, co-owner and farm manager of Talley Farms, will assume the role of chairman of the board of directors. Talley, who has been committed to agriculture for more than three decades, will serve as chairman for a one-year term, taking over the responsibilities of outgoing chairman, Ron Ratto, president of Ratto Bros. Inc.Outgoing Chairman Ron Ratto passing the gavel to Ryan Talley during the Western Growers Annual Meeting. “Ryan’s... Read more
Church Bros. Farms hires Grace Ho
Church Bros. Farms hired Grace Ho as the company’s new vice president of food safety and quality. “This role is critically important and we wanted to hire the right person that could lead our strong FSQ team that consists of more than 120 knowledgeable employees,” said Chief Executive Officer Brian Church. “Grace is at the forefront of food-safety innovation; she has the expertise and leadership we need to guide us in the use of new technologies and processes.” Ho... Read more
Chelsea Van Acker has  fruit farming in her veins
Like so many members of the next generation in the produce industry, Chelsea Van Acker was born and raised on a farm, so she hasn’t a clue of how to respond to a question like “how long have you been working in the industry?” other than to say “my entire life.” Today the 27-year-old works in field service for New York Apple Sales in Glenmont, NY. “My family has been farming for generations in Williamson, NY,” said Van Acker. “More recently my dad is focusing on... Read more
Y-Pulse leader to address FreshStart conference
Sharon Olson, co-founder and executive director of Y-Pulse, a food-focused youth marketing research firm dedicated to young consumer eating habits and trends, will present during the 2020 FreshStart Conference’s education workshops taking place Wednesday, Jan. 15. Olson will provide insight into the minds of kids, and the strategies of the foodservice professionals who feed them, as it relates to food, nutrition, promotion and marketing.   Following her presentation,... Read more
CAC promotes Monica Arnett to VP of finance and administration
Monica Arnett, a seven-year veteran of the California Avocado Commission, has bee promoted to its vice president of finance and administration. In her new role Arnett oversees the management of finance, administration, human resources and information technology. “In her previous roles with CAC, Monica has demonstrated continual growth and mastery of the unique skills needed to spearhead the finances and administration of the organization,” said CAC President Tom... Read more
IPC appoints three new commissioners
During the Idaho Potato Commission’s October meeting, three new commissioners were sworn in. Grower Julie VanOrden of Garth VanOrden Farms in Pingree; processor Paul Sato from McCain Foods USA Inc.; and shipper Bryan Wada of Wada Farms will each serve three-year terms. Nick Blanksma of Legacy Farms and Todd Cornelison of High Country Potatoes were appointed chairman and vice chairman, respectively.   Pat Kole, IPC's vice president of legal and government... Read more
Alicia Adler joins USHBC, NABC as vice president
Alicia Adler, an experienced grant writing and marketing executive who’s secured over $10 million in state and federal grant funds for U.S. specialty crops, has joined the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council and the North American Blueberry Council as vice president. Adler brings a wealth of experience to her new role, both in writing grant proposals and developing export markets. She nearly quadrupled the U.S. highbush blueberry industry’s USDA funding from $350,000... Read more
Muzzi Family Farms expands sales team
Muzzi Family Farms, headquartered in Salinas, CA, has added two new members to its sales team: Max Hoularis (sales) and Bryan Fregoso (sales coordinator). Hoularis joins the Muzzi sales team with eight years of experience in the produce industry.  A Salinas native and graduate of Cal State Monterey Bay, Hoularis started his career in produce as a fresh produce inspector for Kroger. Other previous positions include vegetable trader for Tradin Organics and more... Read more
Progressive Produce welcomes industry veterans to citrus team
Progressive Produce has hired Christine Toy as sales manager and Seth Tillery as sales and grower relations manager. “We are excited to have two experienced industry professionals joining the company. Christine and Seth are an excellent fit with Progressive’s core values. Their knowledge of the produce industry as well as organics will assist us to drive our strategy forward. Both will report to me and will be located in our Visalia citrus office,” said Vice President... Read more