- California Gov. Jerry Brown appoints Karen Ross to the post of secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
- Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington Potato Commission, Moses Lake, earns The Packer’s Potato Man of the Year award.
- Fritz Koontz, longtime partner in Watsonville, Calif.-based Beach Street Farms, leaves to launch Santa Cruz Berry Farming Co. in Watsonville.
- Chandler Copps, produce director for Copps Co. in Wisconsin and The Packer’s Produce Man of the Year in 1968, dies.
- First lady Michelle Obama pushes restaurants to include more fresh produce on their menus as part of her Let’s Move anti-obesity campaign that aims to add 6,000 salad bars to schools over three years.
- Ron Lemaire, former executive vice president and director of marketing for the Ottawa-based Canadian Produce Marketing Association, returns to the association as its next president, succeeding Danny Dempster, who retired May 1.
- Jim Schmidt, co-owner of SunTerra Produce Traders Inc., La Quinta, Calif., takes over as president of the National Watermelon Association.
- Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals LLC brings in beverage industry veteran Greg Smith to succeed retiring Craig Wheeling as chief executive officer.
- Edinburg, Texas-based Frontera Produce Ltd. president Will Steele wins The Packer’s first Importer of the Year award during the inaugural America Trades Produce conference.
- The Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s annual convention pays tribute to outgoing president Danny Dempster, who served the association for 28 years as president and 34 years overall.
- Jim DiMenna, president of Leamington, Ontario-based JD Marketing, Golden Gem and Jem D International, accepts The Packer’s 2011 Canadian Produce Man of the Year award.
- Steffanie Smith, chief executive officer of River Point Farms, earns The Packer’s Woman of the Year award at United Fresh 2011.
- Stephen Whitney, president and chief executive officer of Ottawa-based Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp., announces plans to step down at year’s end.
- Adrian Abbott, former chairman of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, is the new director of operations for Jem-D International Greenhouse Vegetables, Leamington, Ontario.
- Ex-Wal-Mart executive Bruce Peterson joins Bland Farms LLC, as interim chief executive officer.
- Jim Heeren, co-owner of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based wholesaler Heeren Bros. Inc., and three other family members die July 7 in a mass murder in Grand Rapids.
- Jack Gyben, vice president and partner at Progressive Produce Corp., Commerce, Calif., wins the Norman H. “Buz” Bolstad Produce Award.
- Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, Olympic silver medalist and spokesman for Idaho-eastern Oregon onions, dies July 25 of an apparent suicide.
- Tina Fitzgerald, director of produce and corporate responsibility for Subway procurer Independent Purchasing Cooperative, wins The Packer’s Foodservice Achievement award.