James Wood, the former chief executive officer credited with the turnaround of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., died Thursday, March 26 after a long illness. He was 85.  Mr. Wood was born in 1930 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom, which is where he began a storied career in food retailing. From 1965 to 1980, he was a senior executive at Cavenham Foods and the CEO of Cavenham’s international retail operations.   In 1973, Cavenham acquired... Read more
Grow Farms Texas names director of business development
Grow Farms Texas, a joint venture between the Horton Fruit Co. and Ciruli Bros. LLC, based in Donna, TX, has named Gretchen Kreidler director of business development.   Kreidler will work alongside Tommy Wilkins and will represent the Horton and Ciruli family of companies, which includes Grow Farms, the Horton Fruit Co., Ciruli Bros. and Sunnyside Packing Co.Gretchen Kreidler Drawing from the combined assets of Horton and Ciruli, Grow Farms Texas provides... Read more
Dave Hewitt promoted to 4EARTH FARMS director of national sales
4EARTH FARMS, grower and packer of conventional, organic and specialty produce, announced that  industry veteran Dave Hewitt has been promoted to director of national sales. “Dave has been at 4EARTH for over 12 years and is one of our most experienced and engaged leaders," Mark Munger, vice president of sales and marketing, said in a press release. "While the title may be new, Dave has always been a strong leader and team builder in our sales department. He... Read more
Riverside, CA-based Index Fresh, a grower-owned packing, marketing and shipping company, recently added Bill Frank and Jessica Chavez as account managers. Frank previously worked for a southern California produce wholesaler, pack and distribution company, offering a wide-range of fruits and vegetables. He has extensive experience as a regional produce field merchandiser, and a field buyer for a major, national grocery chain. “As a previous produce buyer,... Read more
The Allen Lund Co., headquartered in La Cañada-Flintridge, CA, announced the promotion of Keith Koehler to assistant manager at its Detroit office. “I’m very excited to continue my professional and personal growth here at the Allen Lund Co.,” Koehler stated in a company press release. “I consider myself fortunate to be working for a company that genuinely cares about each and every one of their employees and has shown that consistently through their actions. We... Read more
Safeway veteran joins Trinity Fruit as director of retail relations
Fresno, CA-based Trinity Fruit Sales, a grower, packer and shipper of fresh fruits since 1999, recently announced the addition of produce industry veteran Levon Ganajian as director of retail relations. Ganajian began his produce industry career as a salesman on the Los Angeles Produce Market. Since then, he has gained over 29 years of experience in the industry, 27 of which were with Safeway,Levon Ganajian where he served as the manager of commodities in corporate... Read more
Generation Next: From rodeo queen to head of marketing for Boskovich
Whether she’s roping cattle in a rodeo, hunting with her dad and brothers, or working for her family’s business, Boskovich Farms Inc. in Oxnard, CA, 23-year-old Bridget Boskovich isn’t afraid to call the shots. As the company’s new head of marketing and advertising, the young, go-getting produce professional comes with quite the impressive résumé. A 2013 graduate of Pepperdine University, Boskovich earned her degree in psychology with a minor in industrial/organizational... Read more
Jan Garrett joins Category Partners
Category Partners has hired Jan Garrett as its director of strategic business development and marketing. She will work from a remote office in Ventura, CA. Garrett is a seasoned produce professional with a broad skill set ranging from expertise in trade and consumer research, category management, new product introductions, results orientated promotions, sales planning solutions, innovative marketing programs and business development. “When we asked our grower,... Read more
Marketing Plus hires Kaysha Rajani as creative services manager
Kaysha Rajani joins Marketing Plus as creative services manager to help continue its success as a full-service creative marketing agency that represents several leaders in the produce industry. “I’m excited to join Marketing Plus and be part of an agency that has been in the industry for over 30 years,” Rajani said in a press release. “I look forward to further developing their existing creative services and bringing new and innovative strategies to improve their... Read more
Emily K. Kohlhas has joined John Vena Inc. as the company’s first sales and marketing coordinator. Kohlhas is a transplant from Philadelphia’s dynamic sustainable food movement and brings more than five years of experience in customer service and communications to the firm. As sales and marketing coordinator, Kohlhas will be responsible for leading strategic growth efforts with a focus on new and developing markets such as specialty, value-added, local,... Read more
Samuel Napolitano, longtime produce veteran, dies at 84
Samuel S. Napolitano, a New Jersey produce veteran known for handling seasonal juice grapes and New Jersey plum tomatoes, died Thursday, March 12. He was 84. Mr. Napolitano started out as a second-generation peddler working for his father before starting his own wholesale produce company: Englewood, NJ-based Samuel S. Napolitano Produce Inc.Samuel S. Napolitano His life was dedicated to the produce business, and he was active in the Hunts Point Terminal Market... Read more
PAIA's new West Coast co-chairman
The Peruvian Asparagus Importer’s Association announced its new West Coast co-chairman, Gary Meadows, who is director of sales at Progressive Produce.  “The PAIA co-chairmen help guide the association in our efforts to facilitate asparagus trade and evolve the asparagus category as a whole,” Priscilla Lleras, coordinator for the Peruvian Asparagus Importer's Association, said in a press release. Nearly 10 years ago, the owners of Progressive decided to enter... Read more
The Produce News designer’s best work yet
The newest member of The Produce News was born Wednesday night, March 11. Colleen Brozyniak-Redfern, designer in the art and production department, met an early deadline, giving birth to her daughter and first child, Peyton Redfern. Brian Redfern, the new father, said that all are doing well. To celebrate her birthday, Peyton set up a Facebook account and immediately began posting photos for any friends who couldn’t make it to the party. According to the questionably... Read more
Del Monte hires industry veteran to lead its North America tomato and vegetable business
Del Monte Fresh Produce, one of North America’s leading marketers and distributors of high-quality fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, announced that industry veteran Robert (Bob) Spence has joined the company as vice president of sales and product management for its tomato and vegetable program. “We are very pleased to have Bob on our team,” Emanuel Lazopoulos, senior vice president of sales, marketing and product management, said in a press release. “Bob... Read more
Veg-Fresh Farms hires Innocenti and Galindo
Corona, CA-based Veg-Fresh Farms announced the addition of Anthony Innocenti and Ryan Galindo to its team in order to help advance its Good Life Organic Produce brand. Innocenti brings more than 18 years of experience with a long emphasis on organics to Veg-Fresh. As the company’s new organic category manager,Anthony Innocenti he will be responsible for identifying and expanding opportunities with newly formed grower partnerships in Mexico and California.Ryan Galindo “I’m... Read more
Dan Croce has been named president of ACME Markets, which operates more than 100 stores in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He succeeds Jim Perkins, who was promoted to chief operating officer of parent company Albertsons-Safeway’s East region. Croce, a 30-year grocery industry veteran, began his career with SuperFresh/A&P Food Markets. He joined ACME Markets in 2005 as a district manager and subsequently assumed roles of increasing responsibility,... Read more
Braga Fresh adds Greg McAlister to sales team
Braga Fresh Family Farms has hired Greg McAlister as its vice president of retail accounts. In his new position McAlister will be responsible for developing key customer relationships with a focus on continuing to expand distribution of the Josie’s Organics line of fresh organic vegetables into major retailers and distributors throughout North America. McAlister has more than 30 years of experience in the fresh produce industry, including nearly 25 years of... Read more
Tyler Cottrell joins Interfresh sales staff
Interfresh Inc., a national supplier of fruits and vegetables, announced that Tyler Cottrell has joined the company’s sales team at its La Quinta, CA, office. Cottrell brings several years of produce sales experience to the company, most recently with Driscoll Strawberry Associates. He also spent several seasons marketing grapes with his dad at Richard Cottrell Marketing in Bakersfield, CA. “Tyler’s experience with berries and grapes will be a real plus for us,”... Read more
Allen Lund Co. promotes Kelly Miller
The Los Angeles sales office of Allen Lund Co. announced the promotion of Kelly Miller to operations manager on Feb. 9. “I am excited to take on my new role and proud to work for such a great company,” Miller said in a company press release. “I look forward to continuing to build the Los Angeles office with the support of a great team.” Tracey Lewin, manager of the Los Angeles office, added, “In the 13 years that I have had the pleasure to know and work with Kelly,... Read more
NPPGA elects new chairman, honors industry veteran
Last week the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association held its banquet, which was attended by 249 people. The event included the passing of the chairman's gavel from Rick Vivatson of Cavalier, ND, to Don Suda, a chip and frozen processing potato grower from Grafton, ND. Additionally, Ron Norman was honored with the Meritorious Service Award. Don Suda Grafton potato grower and North Dakota State Senator Tom Campbell presented the award to Norman, who spent nearly... Read more