MIAMI, Fla. — Produce legend Joseph Procacci said he was humbled to be surrounded by friends and family as he received the United Fresh Produce Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award Jan. 21 at the group’s winter leadership meetings in Miami.
Procacci said he’s proud to have had such a long and distinguished career in the produce industry.
“Your word is truly your bond,” he said. “It is an industry of integrity where billions of dollars in business is done without a signature.”
One of the people introducing Procacci was Karen Caplan, president and CEO of Frieda’s Inc., who said while everyone described Procacci as nice, humble and hard working, she knew there had to be more.
She said she found out from his family that he’s a world-class craps player, for instance.
Joe Sheridan, president and COO for Wakefern Food Corp., described Procacci as someone who could see where the produce industry was going and showed leadership ahead of its time.
Procacci, as chairman and CEO of Philadelphia-based Procacci Bros. Sales Corp/Garden State Farms Inc., is estimated to grow and ship 20% of the tomatoes sold in the U.S. He founded Procacci Bros. with his brothers in 1948.
Several speakers mentioned his importance to the industry in 1995, when as chairman of United’s government relations committee, he testified in Congress and worked to preserve the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.
That year he was named Produce Man of the Year by The Packer.