Asparagus Business Updates - The Packer

Asparagus Business Updates

04/16/2014 11:29:00 AM
Jim Offner

The expansion upped the company’s total acreage to about 300, Pacheco said.


Gourmet Trading Co.

Los Angeles-based Gourmet Trading Co. is working on building its company label, said Brian Miller, president.

“After in depth strategic planning Gourmet Trading Co. has made the decision to re-energize our focus on the promotion and distribution our own ‘Gourmet’ brand for our fresh asparagus and blueberries,” he said.

The company also has new packaging that includes photos that illustrate serving suggestions, said Julia Inestroza, marketing director.


Progressive Produce

Cruz Carrera joined Los Angeles-based Progressive Produce as a result of its October acquisition of Oxnard, Calif.-based Mission Produce’s asparagus business, Mission Asparagus LLC.

“We had a plan to increase our acres every year in order to have a viable year-round program in this commodity when we began,” Jim Leimkuhler, president of Progressive Produce, said in a news release. “The addition of Mission’s excellent growers along with Carrera’s five years of experience on the category will accelerate that plan.”

Carrera joined a sales staff that includes Gary Meadows and Cory Stahl, plus general manager Don Hessel. He works with Meadows and Stahl on key account sales of the Americas brand year-round asparagus program.

Progressive Produce also has locations in Quincy, Wash., and Bakersfield, Calif.


Todd Greiner Farms

Hart, Mich.-based asparagus grower-shipper Todd Greiner Farms recently made two hires to lead its sales and logistics efforts, CEO Todd Greiner said.

Pittsburgh native Darren Gilbert became the company’s sales manager in early February, Greiner said.

“He has a long history of working in horticulture and a lot of sales experience and knows a lot of people,” Greiner said of Gilbert, who is a newcomer to the produce industry.

Aaron Fletcher has joined the company as assistant sales/logistics manager. He officially started with the company March 5.

It also is Fletcher’s first produce industry position.

“Most of the last six years, I’ve been working on a commercial salmon fishing boat in Alaska,” said Fletcher, a native of Walkerville, Mich., about 5 miles from Greiner Farms.

Fletcher holds a general management degree from Central Michigan University, which he finished in 2012.

Fletcher said he and Gilbert will focus on different areas.

“He’s going to concentrate on sales and help with logistics and I’m going to concentrate on logistics and help with the sales,” Fletcher said.

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