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WATSONVILLE, CA -- California Giant Berry Farms has hired a general manager for their blueberry packing operations. Evan Pence was hired Feb. 1 to fill the newly created position that will direct and coordinate blueberry packing operations and work with a variety of managers-supervisors on a daily basis, expanding the company's position in the blueberry industry.

His initial focus will be overseeing the blueberry packing operation in Oregon, working with the existing team of Patrick Garrison and Silverio Ramos in that growing region.

"We are very pleased to welcome Evan to our team here at Cal Giant, and I know he will have a key role in advancing our blueberry program in California and Pacific Northwest," Bill Moncovich, president and chief executive officer, said in a Feb. 2 press release.

Mr. Pence will also work closely with the board of directors to develop any other opportunities in the West and Pacific Northwest that would benefit California Giant, such as acquiring additional growers, relocating to another facility or adding other products to the existing facility to maximize overhead. This continued expansion and increase in staffing further deepens the company's long-term roots in the blueberry industry.

"It is definitely an exciting time for me, my family and friends. I look forward to working with the staff at Cal Giant, the growers and the ag community in the Pacific Northwest," Mr. Pence said in the release.

Mr. Pence has been in the food industry for several years with a strong operational background, including Del Monte Fresh and Wawona Frozen Foods. Most recently he was with Family Tree Farms as operations manager in the Central Valley of California, where his responsibilities included developing that company's blueberry packing and logistics program with direct oversight of production, receiving, inventory, shipping, quality control and food safety.

Mr. Pence and his family currently reside in Reedley, CA, and they will be relocating to the Aurora, OR, area after he spends some time at the corporate office getting familiar with the staff and company.