(UPDATED COVERAGE, Dec. 14) Broadening its south Florida tropicals offerings, Brooks Tropicals LLC has named tropical sales veteran Peter Leifermann to head its sales and fruit procurement.
LeifermannLeifermann, who has been in the produce industry for more than 20 years, joined the Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals in late November. He succeeds Sam Skogstad, Brooks’ previous director of sourcing and sales who left earlier in the fall, said Mary Ostlund, director of marketing.
The move weds Leifermann’s south Florida tropicals experience with Brooks’ Florida avocado and starfruit expertise, Leifermann said.
The addition should also help Brooks, which also grows Central American papaya, expand sales of less-developed categories such as passionfruit, lychee, mamey, green papaya, Thai guava and other tropicals grown in Florida.
“As they always do, Brooks recognizes the market trends and some of the strengths in the domestic tropicals deal,” Leifermann said. “The platform that Brooks offers is much wider and is able to maintain the commodities I represented. If you look at the places I worked before, the greatest strength I brought has been when the procurement and the sales staff talk to each other. That is a big part of my tropical produce philosophy.”
Bill Brindle, Brooks’ vice president of sales, said Leifermann adds much experience to Brooks’ plate.
“Peter is an industry veteran and we are excited to have him on board,” Brindle said. “We will be leveraging Peter’s experience to grow sales.”
Leifermann, who joined Pantai USA Inc., in May, as vice president of sales and marketing, called his departure from the Miami-based papaya importer amicable.
After college, Leifermann entered the industry as a supplier to an Atlanta area chain of pizza restaurants. He later was in buying and sales for Miami-based Coosemans Worldwide Inc.’s Atlanta and Cleveland operations. In 2000, he moved to Homestead to become managing partner of C-Brand Tropicals Inc., where he advanced to president of Fresh King Inc. when Fresh King acquired C-Brand in 2006.
In 2009, Leifermann became tropical sales and category manager for J&C Tropicals Inc., Miami.
Coinciding with Leifermann’s addition, Brooks is entering the passionfruit category. Brooks sells 6-pound boxes of the south Florida fruit grown throughout the year that sees February, June and September production peaks.