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As a key expansion component at Al Harrison Co. in Nogales, AZ, on July 23, Thomas (T.J.) Bauer became the vice president of the company.

Mr. Bauer was previously the director of the Nogales office of L&M Cos. Inc., which is based in Raleigh, NC.

Al Harrison President Brent Harrison told The Produce News July 28, "T.J. and I have talked, and we have a plan to redirect Al Harrison Co. into other areas" beyond its watermelon specialty “by adding new commodities. We are going to continue to be strong in watermelon and hard-shell items but add some new commodities such as bell peppers, cucumbers and Roma tomatoes. This is stuff I used to sell in the past when my dad was here, but we want to diversify into those areas. T.J. brings to us a knowledge of those commodities, experience with contracts with different customers, and he has knowledge of contacts in different growing regions and the commodities to put programs together.”

Mr. Bauer told The Produce News that he worked for L&M for 18 years not only in Nogales but also in Visalia, CA. He also ran L&M's Baja operations. Before his L&M tenure, Mr. Bauer worked for Amerifresh Inc. in Scottsdale, AZ, and for Hillcrest Sales, which is part of C.H. Robinson.

Mr. Bauer said, “We are working on expanding the melon programs and adding warm vegetables, a term we use for tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, squash, eggplant. We are working on making it year round instead of seasonal, diversifying our growing areas and having a more consistent, high-quality supply.”

In his first days at Al Harrison, Mr. Bauer had already created “a small organic line.” This initially will involve 300,000 boxes of organic products coming from a Culiacan, Mexico, grower. “We hope it increases from there,” Mr. Harrison said.

Mr. Bauer said that organic shipping is to start in mid-November with colored and green bell peppers, cucumbers and squash.

Mr. Harrison noted that the new products shipped by his company will bear the established brand names of “Harrison Fresh” and “Si Senor.” The firm is, however, “thinking of new labels.”

Mr. Bauer stressed that his work had just begun, but he expected to have new Harrison products in place as soon as “a couple of weeks.” Mr. Harrison said that he will be hiring new sales staff to help move the increasing product volume.