It was a night of lasts, firsts and plenty of emotion when the South Carolina Department of Agriculture hosted the Eastern Produce Council dinner on April 24.
Following the cocktail hour, Martin Eubanks, assistant commissioner at the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, opened the evening by announcing that this would be his last EPC dinner as he is retiring after more than 30 years on the job. The packed dining room at the Stony Hill Inn in Hackensack, NJ honored Eubanks with a standing ovation.
Rob Haarburger of Earthbound Farms; Chris Visone, consultant; and Jim Regan of RDD Associates.
Corinne Barry and Matthew DeNucci of Hampton Farms.
Peter Pascale of Rorbert Wood Johnson University Hospital-Somerset with Al Murray of the New Jersey Agricultural Society and Tom Beaver of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
Bonnie Lundblad of Sunny Valley International with Mike Blume and Andrea Scroggs of Keystone Fruit Marketing.
Caitlin Meaden and Sal Tellez of GenPro with Lenny Salins of Frank Donio Inc.
Victor Joseph and Joseph Joseph of Victor Joseph & Son Inc. with James Tramutola of A&J Produce and Martin Eubanks of the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.
Allan Napoliano and Angela Aronica of Vision Import Group.
Jack Shuler of the South Carolina Department of Agriculture and Gilbert Miller of the South Carolina Watermelon Association.
Juan Vasquez of Alpha 1 Marketing and Anthony Latona of Wonderful Sales.
Matthew Quinn of Robinson Fresh (second from left) with McKenna Sosnovik, Austin Tillotson and Ryan DeColli of Acosta Sales & Marketing.
Brad Ehnert of FreshPro Food Distributors with Joey Apostadero of Marchella of New York.
Incoming EPC president Marianne Santo with Vic Savanello, outgoing EPC president.
Jack Chere and Andrew Abernethy of Earthbound Farm.
David Jenkins of Hapco Farms with Paul Auerbach of Maurice A. Auerbach Inc.
Krysten DeGiglio of Village Farms is flanked by Eric Mitchnick and Frank Mueller of E. Armata Inc.
Kori Davis of Jerrold Watson & Sons with Martin Eubanks and Jack Shuler of the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.
Ashleigh Forrest of Dixe Belle Peaches with Tom Beaver of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
Hugh Weathers, South Carolina’s commissioner of agriculture addresses the EPC audience.
Martin Eubanks addresses Vic Savanello, outgoing EPC president, and Marianne Santo, incoming EPC president.
Vic Savanello later took the podium for the last time as EPC president. He thanked several people for their help and guidance during his presidency, including EPC Treasurer Rob Goldstein, EPC Second Vice President George Moskul and EPC First Vice President Marianne Santo. Savanello received a standing ovation as well.
Savanello ended his remarks, passed the microphone back to Eubanks who promptly announced the new EPC executive staff, highlighted by the naming of Santo as president — the first woman to serve as EPC president. The announcement was greeting with the loudest applause of the evening. When Santo took to the podium she was greeted with yet another standing ovation.
Santo noted that Eubanks failed to mention that she “is the youngest woman to ever serve as EPC president as well.”