The United Vegetable Growers Cooperative recently announced the hiring of its first full-time chief executive officer, Eric Schwartz.
Schwartz is an industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience in fresh, processed and frozen vegetables and fruit, and frozen meals. He also brings a depth of experience in branded and private label products in both domestic and international settings.
Some of his past positions include CEO of Patterson Vegetable Co. and president of Dole Fresh Vegetables. Most recently Schwartz was the principle at OMS, a consulting business that provides management support for court-appointed receiverships and private equity companies targeting the processed vegetable industry.
Tony Alameda, UVGC’s current board president, said the board felt it was time to initiate a full-time focus. “In the past we’ve had success with various members managing our strategic direction in addition to managing their own business,” he said.
“Due to the recent growth in our membership and the complex issues we face in vegetable production, the board determined that a full-time focus was needed,” Alameda said. “Eric provides insight and the bridge we need between growing, processing and the end users in retail and foodservice.”
UVGC is a non-profit agriculture cooperative focused on leafy greens and row crop vegetable production in the western United States. Both conventional and organic products are represented. Membership is not limited to California.