PEOPLE

Retiring Tom Lange veteran to be feted at annual golf tournament
The Tom Lange Co. will celebrate the career of longtime veteran Bruce Rubin at its 25th annual Charity Classic golf outing June 27 in St. Louis. Rubin began his career with Springfield, IL-based Tom Lange Co. in December 1966 and has been a member of the company’s board of directors since 2000. He has served as a member of the St. Louis Market Board since 1996. “Over the years, Bruce has shown great leadership and has been instrumental in growing our Midwest division... Read more
New CEO named at MBG Marketing-The Blueberry People
MBG Marketing-The Blueberry People, the Grand Junction, MI-based blueberry growers’ cooperative, announced the appointment of Orrin (Larry) Ensfield as its new president and chief executive officer, effective June 19. In his new role, Ensfield will also serve on the board of directors of the Naturipe Farms family of companies on MBG’s behalf. Upon accepting the resignation of then CEO Bob Hawk, the MBG board of directors immediately tapped Ensfield, who had been... Read more
In late May, Benny Hall Sr., owner of Benny Hall & Sons Inc. in Temperanceville, VA, told The Produce News that Mark Hodson was hired about one year ago as a new sales representative for the company. Hodson has a strong and lengthy background in the produce industry. “Mark came to us from Western Harvest in Canada,” said Hall. “Prior to then he was with Thomas Moore for many years. He comes with a lot of experience and has already proven to be a great asset... Read more
Another family member, Cole Papen, joining Papen Farms
Papen Farms Inc. in Dover, DE, has numerous family members working in the company, and they all have their own unique ability and individual position. Cole Papen, grandson of Richard Papen, sales manager for the company, joined the company following his high school graduation this spring. He joins the ranks of several fourth-generation family members now working for the company. “Cole will be working in the fields,” Richard Papen told The Produce News. “We look... Read more
Produce veteran Bill Hammerstrom has joined the Crown Jewels team. “He comes to us most recently working with the Superior Sales Inc. group, headquartered in Hudsonville, Michigan, with Bill’s home office based in Kingsburg, California,” Torosian said. “Bill lives produce every day as he lives and farms on his own home ranch growing peaches, sugar plums and alfalfa. Bill’s expertise has been in the area of grapes, citrus and all types of fruit crops.” Hammerstrom... Read more
Ocean Mist Farms hires Justin Grossman
Castroville, CA-based Ocean Mist Farms announced the hire of Justin Grossman as the organic sales manager for its new organic line, Ocean Mist Organic, on June 8. Grossman has an extensive background in organic sales, most recently with Coke Farm in San Juan Bautista, CA, where he managed accounts for large distributors and small retail chains. Prior to that, he was a national buyer for Albert’s Organics in Santa Cruz as well as other retail positions. “Justin... Read more
Generation Next: Lauren Dandrea joins family business with sights set on international growth in the future
When Lauren Dandrea graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in public health, and a minor in biology, she planned to enter a different industry. But the idea of joining her family business, Dandrea Produce Inc., in Vineland, NJ, always lingered in her mind. It’s little wonder. The Dandrea family members are close-knit kin and highly supportive of each another. Lauren joined the company in April. At age 26, she serves as... Read more
Chayla Hare joins Golden Sun Marketing
Minnetrista, MN-based Golden Sun Marketing welcomed Chayla Hare to its team on June 4. In her new role, Hare will focus on developing strategic relationships with retail buyers on behalf of the company’s clients to drive sales. “We couldn’t be more pleased to hire Chayla,” said Don Goodwin, president and founder of Golden Sun Marketing. “She has an impressive track record of building business for quality products within the produce industry.” Prior to joining... Read more
Eli & Ali’s welcomes next generation to its staff
Consumers in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were immediately drawn to the sweet, young faces of Elijah (Eli) Ornstein and Ali Ross when they first appeared on the “Eli & Ali’s” logo in 2000. Since then, the brand has grown tremendously and is now synonymous with the highest possible quality organic and conventional tomatoes, peppers, green beans and many other produce items, including a line of fruits.Jeff Ornstein, co-owner, with... Read more
A trusted dear friend, loving husband, devoted father and grandfather, and a dedicated passionate employee are 15 words that hardly scratch the surface to describe John McAleavey. Each word resonates with John and helps describe his character and his demeanor, but to know John was perhaps the ultimate pleasure and honor of all. I first met John over 21 years ago when I attended a United Fresh convention in New Orleans. It was before I joined the NYAA and I was... Read more
Industry veteran James Caldwell dies at 73
James Chapman Caldwell, a longtime produce veteran, died June 8. He was 73. With 35 years of produce industry experience in Phoenix, Mr. Caldwell worked for United Produce, Harbor Banana, Associated Grocers and Amex Distributing. In 1980 he opened his own produce brokerage company, Caldwell Enterprises, with his son, John, and enjoyed success until he retired in 2005. Mr. Caldwell is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Donna Jean; sons, John (wife Wendy)... Read more
On Oct. 10, 2014, Assistant Professor of Food Science Laura K. Strawn joined the staff at Virginia Tech Eastern Shore Area Research & Extension facility in Painter, VA. The research center is committed to supporting commercial vegetable and agronomic crop production. “Among other projects, our lab group is performing water sampling for a project we have going on to help growers on the Eastern Shore establish a baseline for FSMA produce rule proposed water... Read more
EPC's John McAleavey was 80 years old
John McAleavey, longtime executive director of the Eastern Produce Council, died Friday afternoon, June 5, at his home in Short Hills, NJ, of complications from pneumonia. He was 80 years old. John Joseph McAleavey was born Nov. 5, 1934, in Newark, NJ, where he was raised. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1956 to 1958, and graduated from Rutgers University with a business degree. His first job came in 1962 as a buyer with the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.John... Read more
Growth continues for The Grinstead Group
The Grinstead Group, a consultancy and executive support organization specializing in the fresh produce industry, announced that Bobby Grinstead has joined the company in a sales and marketing position.Bobby Grinstead He graduated from Arizona State University in 2011 and has since been employed by Cigna Group Insurance. “I’m very excited about joining The Grinstead Group,” Grinstead said in a press release. “My dad’s career in fresh produce allowed my brother,... Read more
DNE announces new hire for sales
Mark Hanks, DNE's vice president of sales, marketing and operations, announced that Scott George has recently joined the DNE World Fruit sales team. George has more than 30 years of experience in the fresh produce industry. He has worked in all aspects of the industry, including sales, merchandising, procurement and division produce operations manager for a leading national grocery wholesaler.   For the last 10 years George has worked with... Read more
A Day in the Life of New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher
TRENTON, NJ — The Produce News had a unique opportunity at the end of April to spend the entire day with Douglas H. Fisher, New Jersey’s secretary of agriculture. It was a chance to listen and observe how the secretary conducts meetings and interacts with both staff and members of the agriculture industry in the Garden State, including some prominent members of the state’s fresh produce industry. While there is probably no such thing as a ‘typical day’ in anyone’s... Read more
Jacob Griffith named Choptank Transport's general manager
Choptank Transport, based in Preston, MD, announced Jacob Griffith as its new general manager of the company’s Tampa, FL, office. Griffith is a 2012 graduate of Susquehanna University and first began his career in freight management at Choptank, selling logistics and supply-chain solutions to shippers nationwide. After several successful years at Choptank, Griffith accepted a position at the Colorado Boxed Beef Corp. where he got to work from the shipper’s point... Read more
Oppy strengthens greenhouse sales
Oppy’s greenhouse business just got a boost with the addition of category expert Justin Ruta to the company’s Newark, DE-based sales team. Ruta joined the marketer in the role of senior sales representative in mid-May, bringing with him proven greenhouse sales and marketing capabilities and well-rounded experience with many other items in the Oppy product range. Most recently, Ruta worked as vice president of sales, sourcing and marketing at The Greenery in Westampton,... Read more
Sun Belle Inc. adds to sales team
Sun Belle Inc., an international berry and specialty marketer and distributor, has added Jan McDaniels and Bob Hylka to its growing produce sales and marketing team. McDaniels is in Los Angeles overseeing Sun Belle’s distribution facility near Los Angeles International Airport and handling West Coast and national sales. Hylka works out of Sun Belle’s Schiller Park, IL, distribution center to handle national and Midwest retailers.  Jan McDaniels A New Zealand... Read more
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