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United Fresh to honor Mike Cavallero with Lifetime Achievement Award at Midwinter Leadership Forum

Michael Cavallero, retired president of North American Tropical Fresh Fruit for Dole Fresh Fruit Co., will be the 2015 honoree at the Produce Legends Dinner during the United Fresh Midwinter Leadership Forum, to be held Jan. 13-15 at the La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, CA.

"Mike is a tremendously deserving honoree," United Fresh Chairman Ron Carkoski, president and chief executive officer of Four Seasons Family of Cos., said in a press release.CavalleroMichael Cavallero

Cavallero has served the fresh produce industry for more than 40 years, working his entire career with the Dole Food Co. and its predecessor, Castle & Cooke. Cavallero has also served on many industry boards and councils, including as a member of the board of directors of United Fresh and the Produce Marketing Association, as well as chairman of the board of the International Banana Association.

United's Midwinter Leadership Forum brings together all of the association's volunteer leaders for council and board meetings, its annual United Fresh Start Foundation golf tournament to support children's increased access to fresh produce, and the Produce Legends Dinner honoring an individual for his or her lifetime achievement in the produce industry. Past honorees have included Joe Procacci, Frieda Caplan, Reggie Griffin and Bob Grimm.

The 2015 Produce Legends Dinner will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 13, following the Foundation golf tournament.

Cavallero began his career as a technical service representative in the Fresh Fruit Division of Castle & Cooke. Four years later, he was promoted to director of marketing services.

In 1983, he was promoted to the Fresh Vegetable Division in Salinas, CA, with responsibility in central sales. After a stint in New York as Eastern Division sales manager, Cavallero returned to Salinas as vice president of sales for fresh vegetables.

In 1992 he returned to the Fresh Fruit Division as vice president of sales and marketing for tropical products, and was promoted to president of North American Tropical Fresh Fruit in 2001, serving as an officer of the Dole Fresh Fruit Co. He retired in 2014.

"Volunteer leaders and friends from throughout the fresh produce and supermarket industry are invited to participate with Mike in the Foundation Golf Tournament on Tuesday, January 13," United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel said in the press release. "Many friends throughout the industry have enjoyed being Mike's guests at Dole golf tournaments over the years, so it's great to be able to turn the tables and honor him at this year's event. And, it's for a great cause increasing kids' access to fresh produce, which Mike has supported for so long."

The 2015 United Fresh Start Foundation Golf Tournament will be played on the renowned TPC Stadium Course at PGA West. Rated one of the "Top 100 Courses in the World" by GOLF Magazine and fourth toughest course in America in Golf Digest's "Top 50 Toughest Courses in America" (2007), this Pete Dye course offers one of the most enjoyable challenges in the game of golf. For those guests who do not play golf, United will arrange a tour on Tuesday of local fresh produce operations in the Palm Springs area.

On Wednesday morning following the Produce Legends Dinner, United Fresh will host a Keynote Leadership Breakfast for all volunteer leaders and dinner guests. After that event, United's boards and councils will begin their meetings, and guests are welcome to observe a meeting of their choice or to depart.

Registration for all events is available on the United Fresh Midwinter Leadership Forum website.

Whole Foods launches first-ever national brand campaign

Whole Foods Market has launched its first national brand campaign to highlight its quality standards, healthy offerings and key milestones as a pioneer in the natural and organic food industry. By communicating the company’s deeper purpose and its history of celebrating food and the people who produce it, the multichannel advertising initiative is intended to demonstrate the values of “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store,” according to the company.wfm-1

At the helm of the new campaign is seasoned marketing leader Jeannine D’Addario, Whole Foods Market’s new global vice president of communications. She joined Whole Foods Market in August from Stanford Children’s Health, where she served as vice president and chief marketing officer. D’Addario also previously served as vice president of marketing for infant, toddler and preschool brands at the Walt Disney Co.

“Whole Foods Market has been subtly telling our story for decades, and now is the time to overtly communicate what we’ve spent more than 35 years creating as change agents in the food world,” D’Addario said in a press release. “We are excited to share our stories, and to have deeper conversations with our customers so they can make meaningful choices about what they decide to buy and support.”

“We founded Whole Foods Market as a group of young people who had a deep sense of purpose and a mission to make a difference," John Mackey, co-chief executive officer and co-founder, said in the release. "It came from a very visceral desire to offer natural, organic and healthy, fresh food with a clear set of standards. We had no idea then the difference it could make. Now, 35 years later we are ‘Americas Healthiest Grocery Store’ and we’re excited to demonstrate that with this first-ever national ad campaign and with the work we do in our local and global communities.”

Using the theme “Values Matter” primarily in television, print and digital advertisements, Whole Foods Market will explain the origin and impact of its products and the standards behind them.

The company's new “Responsibly Grown” produce ratings program is a topic of an authentic, documentary-style TV spot that will feature supplier partners, including farmers, along with Whole Foods Market customers and team members.

Whole Foods Market has been recognized by many organizations over the years for its work in creating industry-leading standards. For example, the company was among the first certified organic national grocers in the United States and was the only retailer named “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” by Health magazine.

“Not everyone knows what makes Whole Foods Market different from other grocers, or the fact that no other retailer has standards as demanding or as transparent as ours,” D’Addario said. “This campaign will distinguish what makes our brand special, our food different and our quality superior. It’s our opportunity to reaffirm our unwavering commitments to our core values, which are at the heart of our brand.”

To complement the campaign launch, Whole Foods Market created wfm.com/valuesmatter to present visitors with more transparency and information through videos, supplier partner stories, product profiles and team member testimonials.

Chris Veillon to head marketing at Nature Fresh Farms

Nature Fresh Farms, a greenhouse vegetable grower located in Leamington, ON, announced that Chris Veillon will lead the company's brand marketing efforts. With more than 17 years of senior marketing communications experience across a variety of industries, Veillon is a seasoned marketer with a proven track record of success.CHRIS VEILLON-Photo

"We are excited to add an experienced marketing professional like Chris to our expanding team at Nature Fresh Farms," Peter Quiring, president of Nature Fresh Farms, said in a press release. "We have seen our business evolve considerably over the last few years, and in doing so we are putting more effort in to connecting with consumers via strategic marketing efforts."

Long known as one of the leading greenhouse Bell pepper growers in North America, Nature Fresh also grows and markets an array of tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers and seasonal lettuce.

"I am very excited to be joining the Nature Fresh team and look forward to helping grow the company," Veillon added in the press release.

Veillon will be based at the company's headquarters office in Leamington.

Ready Pac names Phil Yamamoto VP of procurement

Ready Pac Foods Inc. has hired Phil Yamamoto as its vice president of procurement. In his role, Yamamoto will be responsible for establishing a consistent, dependable and cost-effective supply of materials and agricultural goods to ensure the most efficient delivery of high-quality products to the consumer. He will assist in the assessment and rebuilding of the current supply chain footprint and ensure the company has the right team in place to execute Ready Pac’s strategic plans for growth.Phil-YamamotoPhil Yamamoto

“Phil has built his reputation on a unique ability to maximize profitability by streamlining operations and improving productivity,”  Peter Laport, chief supply chain officer at Ready Pac, said in a press release. “Phil’s leadership style will bring a fresh and collaborative perspective to Ready Pac and I’m eager to see him flourish within our team.”

Yamamoto comes to Ready Pac from Reiter Affiliated Cos., where he served as global director of supply chain management. There, he was responsible for overseeing a fast-paced multi-national supply chain department for the largest producer of fresh berries in the world. He supervised sourcing, procurement, market analysis, national and international contracting, and cost savings for three regions, 10 districts and over 40 production operations.

Prior to Reiter, Yamamoto developed his skills with over 20 years of experience working in senior and executive management positions, including roles at Pitco Foods, Core-Mark International and Rocky Mountain Foods. He developed strategies in team building, strategic sourcing, and supply chain management in food distribution and agricultural production. He earned his bachelor's degree in marketing and management from Adams State College in Alamosa, CO, and his MBA from Regis University in Denver.

Ready Pac successfully selected Yamamoto in partnership with executive search firm O’Neill Consulting Group’s consumer practice team.

New SunSelect greenhouse grows California peppers year-round

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SunSelect, a leading Canadian greenhouse grower, will ship its first-ever California-grown tomatoes this week. This historic shipment marks the beginning of a new era for the British Columbia-based grower, as the doors to its brand new 32-acre greenhouse officially open to fresh opportunities.

Along with cocktail and traditional tomatoes-on-the-vine, SunSelect’s high tech, state-of-the-art facility, located in Tehachapi, CA, will produce sweet Bell peppers year-round. Notably, this makes SunSelect one of the only large-scale greenhouse growers in the Golden State to produce peppers in the winter, enabling attractive programs for retailers seeking California sweet Bells during the colder months of the year and beyond.

SunSelect’s expansion into California has also deepened its long-term partnership with The Oppenheimer Group, an investor in the new facility. And even as SunSelect prepares to ship its first product from the new greenhouse, construction of a second facility is already under way in Tehachapi.

“We have started building an additional 32 acres, which will double our current size and significantly increase our year-round pepper volume,” Len Krahn, SunSelect co-owner, said in a press release. Peppers grown in this second phase will be available in late 2015.

“We chose Tehachapi for a few reasons, including the high light levels to promote uniform plant growth, the plentiful water and low humidity,” said Len’s brother and SunSelect co-owner Victor Krahn. “And because the temperature in this valley is lower than surrounding areas, it is naturally free of many pests.”

Inside the fully sealed greenhouse, SunSelect has employed the latest technology to assure an optimal growing environment where sustainable practices are undertaken. From water recycling to re-introduction of waste CO2 as fertilizer to natural air heating, cooling and re-circulation systems, SunSelect extends the commitment to sustainable growing it pioneered in British Columbia to its new California greenhouse.

“We are serious about growing the best tomatoes and peppers in the most sustainable manner we can,” Victor Krahn said.

SunSelect tomatoes-on-the vine will be available at the end of October, and peppers will follow about a week later. While product will ship throughout the U.S., part of the sustainability strategy includes a focus on the local California market.

“We are launching a new series of packaging that emphasizes the California origin of our new items,” he said, noting that the iconic California bear is featured on the packs. “We anticipate that a considerable amount of our early product will be sold here, and we are eager to build a local following.”

Aaron Quon, greenhouse and vegetable category director for The Oppenheimer Group ― SunSelect’s marketing partner ― points to the significant impact the new facility could have: “This is an important step in the evolution of the North American greenhouse category,” he said. “With SunSelect, we will be the first to offer U.S.-grown greenhouse sweet Bell peppers year round. And with the addition of TOVs and cocktail tomatoes―combined with SunSelect’s BC production of peppers and cucumbers―we can deliver a full basket of high-demand items to our customers from SunSelect any day of the year.”