(Nov. 9) Just a year after resigning as president of Ripe ’N Ready, Parlier, Calif., Steve Kenfield is returning to California’s San Joaquin Valley as head of marketing for HMC Marketing Group Inc., Kingsburg.

“The opportunity to get someone of Steve’s abilities doesn’t come along often,” said Harold McClarty, president of HMC. “I have a lot of respect for his abilities, his integrity and his knowledge of the industry.”

Kenfield is to assume the new position Nov. 11, McClarty said. Kenfield did not respond to requests for comment.

Kenfield’s joining the staff came nearly simultaneous with HMC Group Marketing’s announcement that it is withdrawing from FreshSense, the corporation formed after Kenfield’s departure to take over marketing of the Ripe ’N Ready brand commodities.

The HMC Group plans to handle sales of its products in house, McClarty said.

“It’s not a big deal,” said Blair Richardson, president of FreshSense. “They’re going to go their direction, and the rest of us will stick with the Ripe ’N Ready brand next year.”

To date, HMC Group Marketing is the only original member of FreshSense to leave the group, and there are no new members, Richardson said.

At the time of its founding in March, other FreshSense members were Ballantine Produce Co., Inc., Sanger; Corrin Farming, Reedley; Fowler Packing Co. Inc., Fowler; Kingsburg Orchards, Kingsburg; and, SunWest Fruit Co. Inc., Parlier.

Kenfield left Ripe ’N Ready to become vice president of sales and marketing for SunFed Produce Inc., Rio Rico, Ariz. He was promoted to president of SunFed in December.

Within weeks of Kenfield’s departure from Ripe ’N Ready, Richardson announced plans to step down at the end of 2006 as president of the California Tree Fruit Agreement, Reedley.