Maurice A. Auerbach plans to expand line

Marking its first anniversary in a new, 60,000-square-foot warehouse/distribution center, Secaucus, N.J.-based Maurice A. Auerbach Inc. is looking to add to its roster of organic offerings, said Bruce Klein, marketing director.

“We’re pretty comfortable in our facility, and we’re just looking to grow the business,” Klein said.

“We’re in the process of getting HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) certified, and we have an immaculate warehouse and packing facility,” he said.

The new building preserves the cold chain “from docks to packing,” Klein said.


Charlie’s Produce adds local growers

Seattle-based wholesaler Charlie’s Produce is bringing in more growers, said Diane Dempster, manager of Farmer’s Own, the local organic program at Charlie’s.

“We’re working with some local growers we haven’t worked with before and expanding the number of local growers we’re bringing in,” she said.

The wholesaler is working with six new growers from Oregon and two or three from Washington, Dempster said.


Earl’s Organic makes staff changes

San Francisco-based organic wholesaler Earl’s Organic has been shifting a few key personnel and bringing in others, said Earl Herrick, owner of the company, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

“We’ve gone through a hiring spree the last 14 months,” owner Earl Herrick said.

The most recent hire is George Speckman, who heads up quality control. Speckman, who arrived at Earl’s in May, had been with Berkeley Natural Foods.

“He wanted to grow in the industry and felt going to a wholesaler was the next thing,” Herrick said. “He got well-trained there.”

Earl’s also promoted six-year employee Christie Biddle from a logistics slot to assistant buyer on Oct. 1.

Seventeen-year Earl’s employee Patrick Stewart is now the company’s sales manager. Stewart, who was hired originally as a porter, was the first truck driver at Earl’s and is credited with having developed the company’s transportation division.

He also headed up the wholesaler’s information technology efforts after the firm became computerized.


Harvest Sensations hires general manager

Pam Castellano, a longtime veteran of the herb industry, is now general manager of Los Angeles-based Harvest Sensations, an affiliate of Monterey, Calif.-based foodservice distributor Pro*Act.

Castellano joined the company in early October.

Castellano had been with Herb Thyme Farms of Pico Rivera, Calif., for several years until 2009 after having owned her own company, New England Herb Co., in Claremont, N.H., for 28 years.

Castellano succeeds Mike Henry, who shifted to Special Projects with Harvest Sensations.

Homegrown Organic Farms hires two

Porterville, Calif.-based Homegrown Organic Farms has added two employees, said Cherie France, sales and marketing assistant.

Craig Morris is now citrus category manager, and Gunnar Avinelis is sustainable systems/business intelligence coordinator.

Morris replaced Seth Tillery, who is the company’s regional grower and operations manager for the San Joaquin Valley.


Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo shipping Fair Trade

Pescadero, Calif.-based Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo, a grower of organic specialty produce and culinary herbs, is shipping organic and Fair Trade-certified Cavendish bananas grown in Peru year-round.

Bananas and other Fair Trade-certified items, such as avocadoes, mangoes and limes, were introduced in 2012, said Marina Pace, marketing director.


Lakeside Organic Gardens hires staff

Watsonville, Calif.-based Lakeside Organic Gardens has hired Fernando Marquez, a Watsonville native, to its sales staff, sales manager Brian Peixoto said.

“We continue to grow as our acreage steadily increases,” Peixoto said.

Marquez is new to the produce industry, Peixoto said.


The Nunes Co. expands organics

The Nunes Co., based in Salinas, Calif., is making a major push with organic vegetables, said Matt Seeley, vice president of marketing with the grower-shipper, which markets product in the Foxy brand.

“We’ve been converting ground and continue to do that, step by step,” Seeley said.

The Nunes Co. recently added clinatro, kale, parsley and other bunching vegetable items to its organic line, Seeley said.

“As items come on, and we feel they make a good fit, we’ll continue to grow and add them to the category,” he said.


Wish Farms ramps up berry production

Wish Farms, based in Plant City, Fla., is increasing its Florida strawberry production and, this year, is moving into domestic organic blueberry production, said Amber Kosinsky, marketing director.

“Last season, consumers were asking for more organic product, general questions about it, and that led us to plant more acreage of organic strawberries,” she said.

The company is adding Florida-grown organic blueberries to its established volume of Chilean product, she said.

Wish Farms will highlight its U.S.-grown product by adding a U.S. flag to its label, Kosinsky said.