PEOPLE

David Peri receives Outstanding Agriculturalist Award
David Peri, president of Peri & Sons Farms, has been named the 2015 Nevada Outstanding Agriculturalist Award winner by the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources. Initiated in 1967, the Outstanding Agriculturalist Award recognizes individuals who play a significant role in the advancement of agriculture in Nevada.David Peri, president of Peri & Sons Farms, receives the 2015 Outstanding Agriculturist Award... Read more
Mann Packing promotes Goforth, hires new account executive
Mann Packing has promoted Danny Goforth, who was part of the company’s customer solutions and sales team, to a new position as district manager for the retail value-added team. Goforth reports to Terence Billingsley, Western regional business manager, and works with Mann’s broker partners in the West.Danny Goforth Goforth graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2010 with a degree in agricultural business. He previously worked with Colorful Harvest in Salinas,... Read more
Dan Tobin joins Country Fresh Mushroom Co. team
On May 15, Country Fresh Mushroom Co., headquartered in Avondale, PA, announced the addition of Dan Tobin as the director of warehouse operations at the company’s Toughkenamon, PA, facility. In his new role, Tobin will assist in managing the company's operations while supervising employees, ensuring quality and implementing standard facility policies and procedures. Tobin will report to Vice President of Operations Laura Matar. “I am pleased to join an established... Read more
CAC promotes Melban to VP of industry affairs
The California Avocado Commission has promoted Ken Melban to vice president of industry affairs. In this new position Melban will lead the commission’s industry advocacy activities, including issues management, Good Agricultural Practices program, production research and grower communications. “Ken’s leadership of the California avocado GAP program and advocacy for California avocado growers in areas such as water availability and pest management is worthy of recognition,”... Read more
Michele Peterson joins Wada Farms' sales team
Wada Farms Marketing Group, based in Idaho Falls, ID, announced the hiring of Michele Peterson to its sales team. She will be based in the San Luis Valley in Colorado. Peterson has lived in the San Luis Valley for nearly her entire life, but did not get introduced to the potato industry until she married into a third-generation potato farm family. She began her produce career working in accounting, but moved to warehouse management and then into sales and marketing.... Read more
Sweet potato commission head retiring after two decades at helm
BENSON, NC — In two decades at the helm of the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission, here, Sue Johnson-Langdon has seen three major changes in the state sweet potato industry: seed quality, value-added products and integrated operations. Johnson-Langdon is retiring over the next 12 months to 18 months, allowing for transition time with her successor.Sue Johnson-Langdon Representing a grower, Johnson-Langdon became secretary of the commission’s board of directors... Read more
Generation Next: Nicole Palumbo finds success and happiness in family business
Nicole Palumbo had plans other than to join her family business when she graduated from the University of Miami in 2013 with a bachelor of science degree, double majoring in public relations and sports administration. Today, at age 24, she is happily working for the business and her father, Joe Palumbo, founder of Top Banana, located at Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY. The company, founded in 1996, occupies units 413 to 420 on row D.Nicole Palumbo... Read more
RPE Inc., based in Bancroft, WI, announced the addition of Dave Phillips to its sales team as the director of foodservice sales, effective May 4. Phillips will be based in RPE’s Blackfoot, ID, office and will be responsible for overseeing the foodservice sales division of the company, as well as serving as the sales manager for both of RPE-Idaho’s offices, and expanding RPE’s relationships with Idaho potato growers. Phillips will report to vice president of sales,... Read more
Grimmway Farms announced that Bob Borda has been appointed to lead organic sales operations for the Bakersfield, CA-based grower-shipper. As Borda assumes the role of vice president of organic sales, Carl Williams has been promoted to director of organic sales to further support the business. “Bob and Carl will work closely together in supporting the Cal-Organic sales function," Jeff Meger, president of Grimmway Farms, said in a press release. "As Bob... Read more
Market Fresh Produce hires Jacobo Yanes
Market Fresh Produce hired Jacobo Yanes as the new warehouse and operations manager at its Monett, MO, facility. In this role, Yanes will assist in managing the company's newly renovated repacking facility while supervising employees, ensuring quality produce, and implementing standard facility policies and procedures. Yanes was previously with BelleHarvest, where he was the packing manager in Belding, MI. He began his career in produce packaging nine years ago... Read more
LGMA welcomes new officers and board members
The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement welcomed several newly elected members and appointed new officers during a meeting of the advisory board held May 1 in Salinas. The board appointed its new chairman, Ron Ratto of Ratto Bros. Inc., who had served as the vice chairman for the past three years. Victor Tognazzini, Santa Maria leafy greens farmer and general manager of Tri-Valley Vegetable Harvesting Inc., advanced to vice chairman from his position... Read more
Mission Produce names Tracy Malmos SVP of human resources
Oxnard, CA-based Mission Produce Inc. announced Tracy Malmos has been named senior vice president of human resources. Prior to joining Mission Produce, Malmos led human resources at Bolthouse Farms, based in Bakersfield, CA. Before that, he was the vice president of human resources for Walmart in Bentonville, AR, where he played a critical role in providing strategic leadership and consultation, and ensuring that the company’s human capital plan aligned with ongoing... Read more
Cassie Anthony joins Market Fresh Produce's corporate staff
Market Fresh Produce, based in Nixa, MO, announced the addition of Cassie Anthony to its corporate staff. As the new director of human resources, Anthony will be responsible for recruiting, assessing, staffing and building a successful and high-performing Market Fresh workforce. “I look forward to accomplishing big things here at Market Fresh,” Anthony said in a press release. “It is a great opportunity for me to fully utilize my skills and abilities to impact... Read more
Stephen Hohenrieder named general partner at Farmland LP
San Francisco-based Farmland LP, a private equity firm that launched the nation’s first farmland REIT focused on sustainable agriculture, announced April 16 the addition of Stephen Hohenrieder as general partner. Hohenrieder brings 20 years of experience in agribusiness and investment management to Farmland LP and will be responsible for acquisitions, asset management and strategy. “Stephen brings a wealth of experience and success creating value in long-term... Read more
Opportunity knocked, and Jack Bertagna answered
After a 46-year career in the produce industry, Jack Bertagna has called it quits — or almost. “I’m not a consultant,” he claimed. “Everyone quits and says they are a consultant. I’m not doing that. I have just got a couple of potato guys I’m working with and I’m trying to find them some accounts. When I do, I’m turning them over to them and I’m done.”Jack Bretagna and his wife, Patti. These two potato guys, as Bertagna refers to them, knew he was retiring and... Read more
Denver — Three times each week Gene Schneider trades his phone headset for a sweatband and transforms from produce sales agent to college handball instructor — something the Ringer & Son brokerage veteran has done quietly but regularly for nearly a decade. “I’ve been doing this for nine years,” Schneider said. “I teach at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, and I have 21 students in three classes. I teach two classes on Tuesday and one on Thursday, and... Read more
French government honors Sopexa USA exec
The French government has awarded Valerie Gerard-Matsuura the Order of Agricultural Merit in recognition of her contributions in promoting French food and beverage products internationally. This prestigious certification is awarded to a select few people each year who have been judged by their achievements to develop and promote the French agricultural industry throughout the world. Matsuura currently serves as the director of trade relations for Sopexa USA,... Read more
Kocher named COO of Castellini Group
The Castellini Group of Cos., one of the larger fresh produce distributors in the United States, announced the appointment of Brian Kocher to a newly created position of chief operating officer. “As chief operating officer, he will help us continue to focus on growth, operational efficiencies and effectiveness and adding customer value,” Bill Schuler, president and chief executive officer of the Castellini Group of Cos., based in Cincinnati, said in a press release.... Read more
 Monterey Mushrooms names manager of new product development
Holly Burriesci has joined Monterey Mushrooms Inc. as manager of new product development, reporting to John Kidder, vice president of product development. At Monterey Mushrooms, Burriesci will identify opportunities, then oversee the design, implementation and launch of mushroom product production. The company said Burriesci’s 25 years of successful product development and marketing expertise will be of great advantage as Monterey Mushrooms adds a new dimension... Read more
Target has named Anne Dament its senior vice president of merchandising. In this role, she will be responsible for leading the strategic repositioning of Target’s food business. Dament brings more than 19 years of grocery and consumer packaged goods experience to the role. She started her career in food, as a buyer at SUPERVALU and then at Safeway where she held various category and sales management positions. Later she led Safeway’s homecare and general merchandising... Read more