DUARTE, Calif. — More than 100 members of Team Produce raised more than $11,000 to help fund breast cancer research during the 13th annual Walk for Hope Oct. 25.

This was the third year Marty Craner, owner and president of B&C Fresh Sales, Orange, Calif., organized the local produce industry’s participation in the walk, which benefits the City of Hope.

“The first year, we had 27 walkers, last year we had 67 and now were up to 105 or 110,” she said.

In addition, $40,000 in sponsorship fees came in from produce-related companies, including Apio Inc., Guadalupe, Calif., and Hollandia Produce, Carpinteria, Calif. Local produce distributors donated about $40,000 worth of produce that was given away in a concession area, she said.

In all, about 9,000 walkers took part in the event, with Albertsons supermarkets putting up the largest team with 200 members.

Team Produce started as a grassroots effort among produce industry members to help a worthy cause, Craner said.

“It’s a great way for us to tell our story about fruits and vegetables — especially to people who have a very big health concern,” she said.

Craner and team members also distributed pamphlets from the Produce for Better Health Foundation to “put out the good word about fresh produce,” she said.

About 25 vendors representing a range of businesses set up booths during the event.

“If you’re a vendor in L.A., and you want to get your product out there,” she said, the walk is a good venue.

In-kind sponsors included B&C Fresh Sales, Orange, Calif.; Bristol Farms, Torrance, Calif.; Coast Produce Co., Los Angeles; Crunch Pak, Cashmere, Wash.; Davis-Lewis Orchards, Garden Grove, Calif.; Dole Fresh Fruit Co., Westlake Village, Calif.; Odwalla Inc., Half Moon Bay, Calif.; Perimeter Sales & Merchandising Inc., Los Alamitos, Calif.; Stater Bros. Markets, San Bernardino, Calif.; Umina Bros. Inc., Los Angeles; and Westlake Produce Co., Los Angeles.

Eight other walks were in cities throughout the U.S. during the past several months.

Team Produce walks to fight breast cancer

Tom Burfield

Team captain Marty Craner (from left), owner and president of B&C Fresh Sales, Orange, Calif.; Tom Cowle, produce buyer for Carson, Calif.-based Bristol Farms; and Roger Schroeder, vice president of produce operations for Stater Bros. Markets, San Bernardino, Calif., worked at the Team Produce booth at the Walk for Hope benefit in Duarte, Calif., Oct. 25 to raise money for breast cancer research at the Duarte-based City of Hope hospital and research center.