CHARLEVOIX QUEBEC — The new president of the Quebec Produce Marketing Association knows the produce industry from the ground up.

QPMA welcomes new presidentOutgoing QPMA president Marie Gosselin described Sammy Cacciatore as a hard worker, straight talker and sociable with a passion for grapes.

His father started out in the wholesale produce business in the early 1970s, and opened Marché Bonanza supermarkets in Quebec. When work took him back and forth to California, he became interested in growing table grapes, a passion his son inherited.

Cacciatore began working in the family operations as a boy.

After earning a degree in business administration at the University of Montreal, he joined his father at head office in Montreal.

“My time in the family business was a tremendous education for me,” he said. “Working side by side with him I learned to be a good manager.”

He said his father’s generous spirit and good advice also helped shape his career.

Cacciatore worked as director of operations of Bonanza in the 1990s before the stores were sold.

After years in produce retail, wholesale and importing, he realized his true passion lay in grapes.

In 2009 he launched Sun Grape Marketing Inc. in Visalia, Calif., devoting himself to the marketing and merchandising of table and wine grapes from field to table.

“We have over 20 varieties in all,” he said. “Growing them is demanding and very exciting.”

He now divides his time between Quebec and California, but assured conference delegates that his home and heart remain in Montreal.

Cacciatore has been active in the QPMA since 2001. He chaired the 2013 convention with then president Pat Calabretta.

His theme for the next year is: A healthy industry is a shared responsibility.

“There’s no place like QPMA,” he said, describing it as a unique place to meet people and share information that helps everyone grow their business.