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J&J Family of Farms welcomes Bob Ziel as director of food safety and social responsibility
J&J Family of Farms recently hired Bob Ziel as its new director of food safety and social responsibility. Ziel brings more than 30 years of food-safety experience to J&J, having held key food-safety roles with McEntire Produce, The Kraft Heinz Co. and ConAgra Foods, among others. His most-recent role was director of food safety for McEntire Produce. Bob Ziel His experience includes multiple certifications, including HAACP and Six Sigma Green Belt. Ziel... Read more
Peter J. Levantino dies at 63
Following a prolonged illness, Peter J. Levantino of Cove Neck, NY, died on July 26 at age 63. Levantino was familiar with the produce industry from an early age. His father, Joe Levantino, was one of the founding partners of A&J Produce located on Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY. For over 35 years, Mr. Levantino and Philip Giunta worked together in the food industry, ultimately building Giunta’s Meat Farms, headquartered in Oakdale, NY.... Read more
Grape commission hires director of advertising and digital media
The California Table Grape Commission, based in Fresno, recently hired Alyson Dias as the director of advertising and digital media to handle the commission’s global brand message development and oversee its use throughout the organization’s communication tools. “We are very excited to welcome Alyson to the team,” Kathleen Nave, president of the commission, said in a press release. “Alyson brings to the commission more than a decade... Read more
Oppy strengthens sales and grower relations approach
Strategic realignments within The Oppenheimer Group were announced earlier this month, bolstering the leading sales, marketing and distribution company’s pursuit of growth and delivery of its Expect the World from Us promise.  Former Director of West Coast Sales Eric Coty was named executive director of South American imports, where he will oversee Oppy’s procurement strategy for all South America-grown items. With this promotion, Coty will work... Read more
The board of directors of the Canadian Horticultural Council recently announced that Rebecca Lee has accepted the position of executive director. Lee has significant experience in the industry. She obtained her bachelor's degree from McGill University, her master's degree from the University of Guelph and her doctorate from Wageningen University in The Netherlands. Lee’s most recent position was as technical director with the North American Plant Protection... Read more
J&J Family of Farms adds Clayton Amestoy as senior farm manager
J&J Family of Farms, based in Loxahatchee, FL, has named Clayton Amestoy its senior farm manager. Amestoy is a fourth-generation farmer who brings a lifetime of farming leadership to J&J. He grew up on the Amestoy family farm in Boynton Beach, FL, where he learned the value of dedication and hard work at an early age. His professional agricultural career includes district farm manager at Pero Family Farms and farm manager of R&A Farms Inc. in Boynton... Read more
The Vision Cos. has promoted two employees: Lance Nichols to director of sales and operations in its Phoenix branch and John Caldwell to vice president and general manager Arizona. "As our Phoenix and Nogales divisions continue to grow, we are fortunate to have Lance at the helm of our sales and operations in Phoenix," Caldwell said in a press release. "He is an asset to our team and we look forward to him applying his wealth of knowledge to our Phoenix branch." "John... Read more
Talley Farms, a vegetable and fruit grower located Arroyo Grande, CA, announced it has expanded its presence in the Midwest and appointed Anthony Totta as director of marketing and business development.  Totta, an industry veteran with more than 35 years of experience, will lead Talley Farms’ new Midwest office from the Kansas City area, and will be responsible for developing Talley’s Bell pepper offerings. “Anthony understands produce and... Read more
A week after Empire Co. Ltd., parent company of Canadian retailer Sobeys, reported a $2 billion net loss for its 2016 financial year, it was announced that Marc Poulin, president and chief executive officer, has left the companies effective immediately.   “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Marc for his efforts and leadership as CEO over the past four years and, prior to that, for the important role he played in developing our Quebec business,”... Read more
Guadalupe, CA-based grower-shipper, Beachside Produce LLC has promoted Danny Fleming to export manager and Gilbert Hinojosa to organic sales commodity manager. Fleming has been with Beachside Produce since the company began in 2005. He came to Beachside directly from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and has been working in sales where he has managed various commodities.   Fleming will continue working with domestic sales as well as expanding the Beachside Sales Export... Read more
NJDA'S Lynn Coffin set to retire Dec. 31
With a public service career spanning 43 years — 33 of which have been at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture — Lynn Coffin has announced she will be retiring at the end of this year. Coffin came to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture in 1983 as a principal clerk bookkeeper, and advanced through the ranks to eventually become an executive assistant. In her position as executive assistant, Coffin reported directly to Al Murray, the state’s... Read more
Spud Haun dies at 91
Richard (Spud) Haun, a U.S. potato industry leader, died in his sleep at age 91 on June 27. He was at his home in Prairie Village, KS. Mr. Haun worked in the produce industry for more than 50 years.  He created what is now Haun Potato Co. in Kansas City in 1965. In 1990 he sold the firm to his son, David Haun, who continues to run Haun Potato Co. from its office in Prairie Village.  Spud and David Haun worked every year with Red River Valley potato... Read more
Kevin Leap joins Frieda’s Specialty Produce
Frieda’s Specialty Produce has hired long-time produce industry professional Kevin Leap as director of business development. “We are so delighted to have Kevin on board,” Karen Caplan, president and chief executive officer of Frieda’s, said in a press release. “Kevin has a fantastic reputation and a lot of experience building programs and introducing products to both retailers and foodservice operators across the country. Our sales... Read more
New CEO to take the helm at Walmart Canada
Walmart Canada announced the appointment of Lee Tappenden, chief operations officer of Walmart Canada, to the position of president and chief executive officer, effective Aug. 15. Tappenden joined Walmart in 1996 and has held a number of global leadership roles with the company, including chief merchandising officer with Walmart Japan and vice president of merchandising for the International Division. After joining the Walmart Canada leadership team in 2010 as... Read more
Bedwell leaving CFFA, Radanovich named replacement
The California Fresh Fruit Association announced following its annual meeting in Sacramento that current President Barry Bedwell will leave the organization and former eight term U.S. Congressman George Radanovich will take over as president of the Fresno-based organization.Barry Bedwell Bedwell has been president of CFFA since 2003 and is transitioning from the organization to serve as president of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation. CALF is a 501(c)(3)... Read more
Nolan Family Foundation Scholarship awarded at EPC cookout
The third annual Nolan Family Foundation Scholarship was awarded at the EPC’s New Jersey Department of Agriculture Jersey Fresh Cookout at Demarest Farm in Hillsdale, NJ. Theresa Nolan was in attendance to present this year's $5,000 scholarship to Christine Knospe, wife of Scott Knospe of Wakefern Food Corp. She is currently enrolled at Montclair State University, pursuing a degree in speech communications. The Knospe family, including daughters Izzy and... Read more
Sobeys names new chief merchandising officer
Sobeys Inc. announced the appointment of Lyne Castonguay as chief merchandising officer for the company. Castonguay will oversee all aspects of Sobeys go-to-market strategy, with responsibility for category management, marketing, data insights, research, procurement, private label and merchandising as well as the company’s digital strategy. For the past 14 years Castonguay has held progressively senior positions with The Home Depot both in Canada and, for... Read more
The United Fresh Produce Association announced the 12 members of the 2016-17 United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program Leadership Class 22. Sponsored by a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection, this program was launched in 1995 and has graduated more than 200 program participants. The Produce Industry Leadership Program welcomes the following professionals to its 22nd Class: Katie Birkhauser, Dole Fresh Vegetables, Salinas, CA John Carkoski, The... Read more
Julie Krivanek recognized as 2016 Women in Produce honoree
CHICAGO — The 2016 Women in Produce honoree is Julie Krivanek, president of Krivanek Consulting Inc. Krivanek was honored by, and the featured speaker at, the June 21 United Fresh Produce Association reception honoring Women in Produce. The annual reception and award presentation was part of the United Fresh convention, held here June 20-22.Julie Krivanek, president of Krivanek Consulting Inc. and the 2016 Women in Produce honoree. View more photos here. Krivanek... Read more
Longtime apple leader announces retirement
The apple industry will lose one of its top leaders and popular personalities when Jim Allen retires as president and chief executive officer of New York Apple Association Inc. on Jan. 2, 2017. Allen has headed the apple industry’s second-largest state marketing order since 2000. During his tenure, he earned a reputation as a passionate industry supporter who advocated for nationwide industry cooperation rather than regional competition.Jim Allen Allen joined... Read more