Backyard Farms hires V.P. of marketing

Madison, Maine-based Backyard Farms LLC has hired Pete Lewis as vice president of marketing, said Tim Cunniff, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing.

Lewis, who has more than 15 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry, joined Backyard Farms in October.

It’s a new position for the company, Cunniff said.

“I had been doing both” sales and marketing jobs, he said. “I’m excited that we have enough stuff to do to bring someone on full time.”

BC Hot House adds procurement manager

Jeremy Stockwell, a greenhouse vegetable veteran of more than two decades, is the new procurement manager for Langley, British Columbia-based BC Hot House, said sales director Kevin Batt.

Stockwell, who also handles some sales duties for BC Hot House, most recently worked in sales and procurement for Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Star Produce, with which BC Hot House formed an alliance with in 2010.

Stockwell grew up in the produce industry, working for his family’s greenhouse business in Leamington, Ontario.

“He was a natural fit to join the BC Hot House team to assist with our growth plans,” Batt said.

Global Fresh adds salesman

Global Fresh Import & Export, Naples, Fla., a subsidiary of Springfield, Ill.-based Tom Lange Co., has added a salesman, said Gregg Biada, vice president.

Kale Swain joined the company Jan. 1, becoming the third staff member in the Florida office, Biada said.

Swain previously worked at this father’s business, Bushnell, Fla.-based Palm Fruit, which specializes in watermelons.

“We wanted to spread his wings and expand into other commodities,” Biada said.

Oppenheimer shipping FairTrade peppers

Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group is shipping greenhouse-grown Fair Trade-certified colored bell peppers from Mexico this season, said Aaron Quon, greenhouse category director.

Oppenheimer is the first North American company to have a Fair Trade-certified greenhouse bell pepper program, Quon said.

The money raised from sales of the peppers will be used by workers to pay for education, health care and other needs, Quon said.

Under the program, 50 cents of every case of Mexican greenhouse-grown Fair Trade peppers goes back to farmworkers, Quon said.

It took Divemex, Oppenheimer’s Mexican growing partner, about a year to become certified through a third-party certifier, Quon said.

For now, the program will focus on peppers though Quon didn’t rule out Oppenheimer branching out into Fair Trade tomatoes, cucumbers and other commodities.

“It was a fairly lengthy process to get certified for peppers,” he said. “We’ll see how consumers and retailers react to it.”