Amazon Produce Network adds position
Amazon Produce Network, Mullica Hill, N.J., has added a grower relations and logistics person.

David Ponce began working for the importer and marketer of mangoes in early August.

Ponce previously worked as a commercial representative for melons grower-shipper Agro Libano in Rottedam, Netherlands where he oversaw receiving containers.

Greg Golden, Amazon’s sales manager and co-owner, said Ponce should be a strong addition to the operation.

Brooks’ ships papayas in redesigned box
Brooks Tropicals Inc., Homestead, Fla., has switched to shipping its Caribbean red papayas in a new type of box.

Since January, Brooks has been increasing the packing of its fruit in the box that Mary Ostlund, director of marketing, calls a corner post box.

Replacing a former carton Brooks used that wasn’t as display ready, the new container has a shorter top and graphics, Ostlund said.

“For the past six months, the box has gone through a trial period where we tested its stability and rigidity,” she said. “Designing a papaya box isn’t easy. Papayas love humidity while cardboard doesn’t.”

Brooks had machinery built to the company’s specifications to construct a box that provides optimal fruit protection while giving papayas the humid environment, Ostlund said.

She said Brooks has received strong retailer feedback on the packs.

Besides its Belize papayas, Brooks is a leading grower, packer and shipper of south Florida avocados and starfruit, Mexican limes, Jamaican Uniq fruit and ships smaller volumes of other tropicals.

Central American Produce moves offices
Central American Produce Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., has moved its offices to a new location.

The year-round grower-shipper of mangoes, pineapples, melons and vegetables relocated from its Atlantic Boulevard location it had been at for 27 years to a newer building on Park Central Boulevard off of Military Trail, about a mile away from its aging building, said Michael Warren, president.

“Our offices are in a nicer and cleaner environment, and in an area that is more conducive to working,” he said. “There are open windows all around and it has nice tropical landscaping that allows us to take in the natural Florida beauty.”

Central American made the move in February.

Marketing veteran joins
J&C Tropicals

J&C Tropicals Inc., Miami, has brought in a marketing veteran to lead its marketing efforts.

Jeanette Rodriguez became vice president of marketing for the grower-shipper on July 1.

An art director, Rodriguez worked at a Manhattan, N.Y. agency on the Este Lauder contract before returning to Miami a decade ago to run her full service marketing and interactive design and development agency where she served numerous industries.

The Miami native began consulting for J&C in June before accepting the full-time marketing position.

“The goal here is to solidify the brand and create more industry awareness within the tropicals category about this company,” Rodriguez said.

Additionally, J&C plans to give its website a makeover.

J&C plans to launch its redesigned website in October in time for the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2010 in Orlando, Fla.

Mango Board releases crop report app
The Orlando, Fla.-based National Mango Board has released a Web-based crop report application.

The application is based on information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market News Service and allows retailers and foodservice operators to discover trends and pull prices to plan promotions and recipes.

The customizable reports feature more than five years of mango crop data, including prices and volume and have options such as exporting country, date range and entry port.

William Watson, executive director, said the board has fielded many requests for the information.

“We wanted to collect it all and be the conduit for bringing a lot of this information together because we want to drive our stakeholders to our website and continue to build value in that area,” he said. “We developed a way to pull a lot of information from multiple sources together in one spot and make it easy for the user.”

The reports can also be exported to Excel spreadsheets.

The app can be found at

Southern Specialties expands warehouse
Southern Specialties Inc. in late summer was expanding its warehouse capacity at its Pompano Beach, Fla., headquarters and distribution facility.

The grower, importer and shipper was having engineers design space in an adjacent warehouse that Southern Specialties plans to use as expanded warehouse space.

Once completed, the company plans to move its fresh-cut processing operation into the new area, which is a little more than 100,000 square feet, said Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development. 

Southern Specialties markets specialty produce such as green beans, baby vegetables, asparagus, berries and specialty peppers, specialty tomatoes and specialty lettuce from the U.S., Canada, Central America and South America.