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California Table Grape Commission hires marketing director of category management
David Dudley is the new marketing director of category management for the California Table Grape Commission. Dudley’s responsibilities include expanding the retail demand for California table grapes in the U.S. and Canada through enhanced category management. “We are very excited to welcome David to the team,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the commission. “David’s nearly 10 years of experience in produce management and his experience in the retail sector will... Read more
James Paul joins Crystal Valley Foods
Crystal Valley Foods recently announced that industry veteran, James Paul, has joined its sales team and will handle sales for the entire product line, including asparagus. Prior to Crystal Valley, he was the senior category director for the asparagus category at Grower Direct Marketing. James Paul“We are thrilled that James has joined Crystal Valley,” said Jay Rodriguez, president of Crystal Valley Foods. “With a family history in the fresh produce industry, Paul... Read more
Israel Morales named executive director of sustainable operations at JV Smith Cos.
Israel Morales is the new executive director of sustainable operations for JV Smith Cos. Previously the general manager of JV Farms Organic, Morales brings with him 45-plus years in farming with more than 30 years in organic farming. He will be overseeing all of the sustainability practices under JV Smith Cos. as it continues to develop and enhance these operations at every level within all of its companies. In addition, he will take a vital role on the national... Read more
Rich Dachman named keynote speaker for NEPC expo’s breakfast
The New England Produce Council announced industry veteran Rich Dachman, chief executive officer of Brighter Bites and former vice president of produce for Sysco Corp., will be the featured speaker at the council’s keynote breakfast on Thursday, Sept. 19. “Foodservice, Nutrition, and Making a Difference” is the topic of Dachman’s presentation. The presentation will cover topics such as the complex matrix of foodservice distribution, the success of a distributor-operator... Read more
Michele Hoard joins NMB as retail account manager
The National Mango Board hired Michele Hoard as the its new retail account manager for the West Coast region of the U.S. Hoard comes to the NMB with over 20 years of experience in produce through the roles of field marketing, business development, strategic marketing and account management. Hoard will work with retailers in the West Coast to set strategic programs and help retailers grow their mango category and increase year-round mango sales. Hoard comes to the... Read more
James S. (Jim) Knoll of Knoll Farms dies at 75
MINNEAPOLIS — James Stanley (Jim) Knoll, age 75, died Aug. 18 after a long battle with glioblastoma brain cancer. Mr. Knoll was a lifelong resident of Andover, MN, a northwest suburb of Minneapolis. He attended the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University, graduating with a degree in accounting. He then joined his father, Stanley, and brothers at Knoll Farms in Andover, which was founded in 1937 and grew to become a prominent supplier of vegetables... Read more
Creel family welcomes new baby
Parker Simon Creel was born Aug. 22, 2019, at Henrico Doctors' Hospital in Richmond, VA. He weighed seven pounds, two ounces. Parker is the first child for mom Stephanie Nicole Creel and dad Bobby S. Creel III (who is known as Tripp), who live in Crozier, VA. This is also the first grandchild for Trisha Creel and Bobby Creel, who is director of business development at L&M Cos. Inc., which is headquartered in Raleigh, NC. Parker's birthdate of Aug. 22 is an... Read more
Industry veteran Sam Burleson joins Bland Farms
Bland Farms and Vidalia Brands has hired industry veteran Sam Burleson to lead sales and marketing for the Northeast region. In this role Burleson will step in to lead client-grower relations; while also playing a leadership role in how to continue to expand Bland’s strategic retailer partnerships from coast to coast. Sam BurlesonBurleson brings a strong and diverse background to the Bland family team. For over 30 years, he has been a top-producing, performance-driven... Read more
Wholesum promotes Tina Federico to business development representative
Wholesum, Fair Trade certified growers and shippers of organic produce, recently promoted Tina Federico to business development representative.  Tina FedericoIn her new role, Federico will execute a growth strategy focused on sales goals, new customer acquisition and introducing new products to existing customers. Her new responsibilities will also include conducting research to identify customer needs and consumer trends, new customer onboarding, and... Read more
Gavel passes to new USApple board chair
The U.S. Apple Association named a new chair to lead its board of directors. Jeff Colombini, a third-generation California grower and tree fruit business owner, will serve the 2019-20 term. Colombini succeeds Chair Kaari Stannard, owner of New York Apple Sales Inc. in Glenmont, NY. USApple 2018-19 Chair Kaari Stannard passing the gavel to new board Chair Jeff Colombini. Colombini is president of Lodi Farming Inc., a company that farms 1,800 acres of apples,... Read more
Honeybear Brands adds business development director
Honeybear Brands, a leading grower and developer of premium apple varieties, hired Craig Arneson as business development director. The move follows several key operational leadership team additions over the past 12 months and prepares the company for continued growth in the coming fiscal year. Arneson brings more than two decades of experience and proven success in the produce industry, most recently from C.H. Robinson and Target Corp. “I have always had a passion... Read more
Progressive Produce names new VP of sales
Progressive Produce has hired Dominic DeFranco as vice president of sales. He brings more than 30 years of operations and sales experience within the Southern California fresh produce industry. DeFranco was previously with Fresh Del Monte where he eventually became senior sales manager. “We can be very selective about who we bring into the Progressive Family, but Dominic fit the bill," said Scott Leimkuhler, senior vice president of sales. "The type of guy he is... Read more
Howard Nager joins Progressive Produce as VP of business development and marketing
Progressive Produce has hired Howard Nager as its vice president of business development and marketing.  “We are excited to have someone of Howard Nager’s caliber and experience joining the company," said Marty Kamer, president of Progressive Produce. "Howard is an excellent fit with Progressive’s core values. He is an excellent collaborator and has remained customer focused throughout his career in fresh produce. His leadership will play a significant role... Read more
EHY names new creative chief
EvansHardy+Young, a Santa Barbara, CA-based marketing communications agency rooted in the food, restaurant, wine and spirit, and casino categories, has announced KT Thayer as its new chief creative officer. Thayer is joining the agency following the retirement of longtime agency partner and Executive Creative Director Scott Young. “KT has an outstanding track record of success in creating breakthrough solutions that build brands and achieve client KPI’s,” said... Read more
Hudson River Fruit Distributors celebrates addition of fifth generation
On July 24, Milton, NY-based Hudson River Fruit Distributors welcomed its fifth-generation family member when fourth-generation Alisha Albinder-Camac and her husband, Jesse Camac, welcomed their son, Cayden Joseph Camac, into the world. The infant arrived weighing eight-pounds, six-ounces. A photo announcing his birth came with the quote, “The Cutest Apple in the Orchards” printed on his onesie baby outfit. Hudson River Fruit distributed two-million boxes of apples... Read more
Sales leadership changing at Lone Star Citrus Growers
Trent Bishop, vice president of sales and sales manager, will be transitioning out of his roles at Lone Star Citrus Growers. “I have enjoyed my time here at Lone Star Citrus, and I look forward to watching their future growth and continued success,” said Bishop. “Trent will be pursuing a new opportunity in produce, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors. Our friendship remains undiminished, and we’re thankful that he has been a part of the Lone Star... Read more
Onions Etc. and Modi Apple USA, divisions of JJB Farms, have announced Bob Freeman as director of sales. With more than 18 years of experience managing produce accounts throughout the United States, Freeman has a solid background managing retail and wholesale clients. Freeman's extensive professional background includes management positions with Yorkshire Foods (Del Monte Dried Fruit), Mariani Packing, Fresh Gourmet and most recently Fresh Express. He is an established... Read more
Allen Lund's Scott Fletcher joins TIPA board of directors
The Texas International Produce Association announced that Scott Fletcher has joined TIPA's board of directors. Fletcher joined the Allen Lund Co. in 2008 as manager of the Dallas office and has been working on building the ALC presence in Texas for over 11 years. "I'm excited and looking forward to working with Dante Galeazzi and the team in any way that will grow Texas as a top choice for fresh produce both within Texas and internationally," said Fletcher. Fletcher... Read more
Sunkist names Cassie Howard director of category management
Every citrus variety has a story to tell, from the groves to the grocery store, and Sunkist Growers is translating that story into strategy for its partners nationwide. As the leader in category management solutions in the citrus space, the cooperative recently announced the promotion of Cassie Howard to director of category management. “Cassie has been a key player in developing fact-based business solutions for our retail and foodservice partners,” said Christian... Read more
Former independent grocer, current NGA exec to take reins
Following an extensive national search, the National Grocers Association board of directors has appointed Greg Ferrara as the next president and chief executive officer of the NGA, effective Sept. 1. Ferrara succeeds Peter Larkin, who announced in the fall of 2018 his retirement. “As a former independent grocer, Greg’s passion for our industry is second to none and his leadership over the years as NGA’s chief lobbyist, among other roles, has prepared him well to... Read more