NOGALES, Ariz. — After 46 years in the produce business, Ana Astrid Celaya put away her order book in June and decided to retire. But not for long.
Celaya, 67, plans to return to the sales desk Nov. 9, this time for Del Campo Supreme Inc.
Jim Cathey, general manager and sales manager at Del Campo, couldn't be happier.
"She brings a wealth of experience," he said. "I think she can teach me things I didn't know."
Together, Cathey and Celaya represent 86 years of experience, he added.
After spending so many hectic years on a sales desk, Celaya said the laid-back life of retirement just didn't suit her.
"I need the action," she said.
Celaya built up an extensive resume in Nogales.
She started her career at the now-closed Kitty's Vegetables, where she stayed for 21 years before accruing another 21 years at Malena Produce Inc., where she served as sales manager. Next she moved to Ciruli Bros. LLC for three years then, most recently, to SunFed for one year.
She sold grower Eduardo Leyson's eggplant deal for more than 35 years for three Nogales shippers.
"We at Del Campo thought, what a great deal to have her come and be part of our sales team," Cathey said. "She'll bring her wealth of experience and her multitude of contacts and personal relationships she developed over the last 46 years."
Astrid will have plenty to keep her busy at Del Campo Supreme.
The company has picked up 2 million boxes of outside roma and grape tomatoes, and planned to launch a European cucumber deal in early November, Cathey said.
In all, the firm expects to ship about 7 million cartons of tomatoes this season.