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Yakima, WA-based FirstFruits Marketing of Washington recently added more manpower and expertise to its organic sales team with the hiring of Paul Newman as an organic sales specialist.

Mr. Newman brings more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience to FirstFruits Marketing and will join Matt Miles as the core of the firm's organic apple sales team. The duo will have one of the larger organic apple manifests to market, totaling more than 1.5 million cartons of product this crop year.

"We are one of the industry's leading organic apple suppliers. Our success depends on building results-driven programs that help grow the organic category for our customers," Keith Mathews, FirstFruits chief executive officer, said in a Dec. 1 press release. "We have assembled a solid organic team to achieve our goals and objectives."

Mr. Newman brings unique skills and experiences to the organic sales position. He is a graduate of the Missouri School of Auction and keeps his auctioneering techniques in tune by working a number of auctions every year, including special fundraising events for charities.

He started his apple sales career in 1987 at Hansen Fruit Co., and since 2004 he had been employed at Rainier Fruit Sales as a specialty sales manager. FirstFruits Marketing represents Broetje Orchards and Columbia Valley Fruit, both premium apple packers located in Washington state.

The marketing company is also focused on giving back to the community. Suppliers joining FirstFruits Marketing pledge to donate at least 10 percent of their share of the profits from the marketing company to non-profit charities focused on the under-served.

FirstFruits Marketing staff includes sales specialists Tim Cavanaugh, Matt Miles, Rich Roberts and Chuck Zeutenhorst; Sales Manager Robbin Erickson; Category Manager Dennis Jackson; Marketing Manager Andy Tudor; Production Coordinator Jeff Weidner; and Chief Executive Officer Keith Mathews.