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Fruit Patch Sales LLC in Dinuba, CA, which hired Rick Eastes as vice president of sales and marketing in December, has announced the addition of several other people to its sales team.

Tony Supino, who has been in the produce business for about 12 years including the last eight years as a sales executive at Wawona Packing Inc. in Cutler, CA, and George Neves, who sold a diversified tree fruit program at Ito Packing in Reedley, CA, for the last 15 seasons, have joined Fruit Patch as sales executives, according to a Jan. 5 press release. A third veteran salesperson, whose name has yet to be announced, will be starting Jan. 19.

In addition, Jana Ferguson "will join Fruit Patch as a logistics specialist," according to the release. "Jana began her produce career with C.H. Robinson and spent four years with The Oppenheimer Group before joining the International Ag Center, the world's largest agricultural show, based in Tulare [CA] as its international relations manager. Most recently, Ms. Ferguson worked one full season in a marketing role with Fresh Sense."

Continuing in sales and marketing roles at Fruit Patch will be Brian Haley, Mike Crookshanks and Tina Haga, who can "expect to see their responsibilities expand while supplying Fruit Patch's tree fruit to all of its domestic and export markets," the release stated.

"We are excited to have such high-quality sales executives joining and remaining with Fruit Patch as we look toward the 2009 deciduous season," Mr. Eastes said in the press release. "It certainly continues to be about supplying high-quality and flavorful tree fruit."

However, "it is just as important to carry forward a strong commitment for full service to all of the buyers we sell, while maintaining that same commitment to our growers and suppliers in the most friendly and professional way possible," Mr. Eastes added in the press release. "We have a great team at Fruit Patch, which has been a stalwart in the industry for years, and now we feel we are prepared to take the organization to a higher level of produce quality and service as demanded in today's challenging marketplace."