( Courtesy Viva Tierra Organic )

Chris Ford is the new business development and marketing manager at Viva Tierra Organic in Mount Vernon, Wash., in the Skagit Valley.

Ford is a longtime member of the industry, working as produce manager for Alfalfa’s Markets in Boulder, Colo., for 2 ½ year, starting in 1997. He then became regional produce buyer and coordinator at Wild Oats Markets, followed by more than six years at Earthbound Farm as commodity manager.

He returned to retail for 7 ½ years, working at Whole Foods Markets, as global and floral purchasing team leader. He was vice president of sales at Sutherland Produce Sales until 2017, when left for the Oppenheimer Group, where he was organic and foodservice category manager.
Viva Tierra CEO Luis Acuna, who has known Ford throughout his career, said Ford is a “champion for organic integrity and social responsibility.”

“We are thrilled to have him on our team,” Acuna said in the release. “His deep experience and strategic perspective will be of tremendous value as we continue to build the business to meet the needs of our customers.”

Viva Tierra Organic has year-round programs for apples, pears, with fruit from Argentina and Chile, where the company has a farm and cold storage facility. Seasonal items include onions, kiwifruit and stone fruit, according to the release.

The new Bartlett pear crop from Argentina will be arriving and hitting U.S. stores the week of Feb. 17, according to the news release, with ideal weather in the growing season.

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