September's job openings in fresh produce, food and agriculture

Produce Careers is recruiting on several new open positions in the fresh produce, food processing and agriculture sectors. The latest active career opportunities are listed below for review, networking and sharing.

Eastern Regional Equipment Sales Executive - Remote/Home office within the Eastern U.S.

  • A respected equipment and packaging supplier needs an experienced sales pro to develop new business within the Eastern U.S.

Organic Sales Representative - California's Central Coast

  • A well-known and respected Organic grower/shipper/importer seeks new talent for F.O.B and retail program sales

Regional Produce Sales Manager - Dallas Area

  • Strong, growing produce company has two home-based opportunity needing produce sales and business development experience

Sales and Product Development Manager - South Carolina

  • Sales management role along with new product development, seeking solid produce experience

Produce Sales Account Executive - Apple Category - Los Angeles, CA Area
Produce Sales Account Executive - Berry Category - Los Angeles, CA Area

  • Seek two sales pros — one well versed in the apple category, the other in the berry category
  • Must know grower relations, sourcing, and sales to retail and wholesale customers
  • Company has expanded its facilities, has multiple services and products, and a great rep.

Account Manager - East Coast

  • Seeking produce sales expert who sells to retail grocery chains on the East Coast
  • Prefer candidates in BOSTON AREA, but potentially open to home office situation
  • Top grower/shipper/importer; category leader; national brand; on strong growth curve; great industry rep.

Sales Account Executive - Ventura County, CA

  • Well-established fruit grower/shipper/packer seeks solid F.O.B. produce salesperson
  • Great location: commutable from Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Valencia, north San Fernando Valley

QA Manager - Ventura County, California

  • This QA Manager role is with a strong global company
  • 5-7 yrs. experience needed SQF knowledge preferred

QA Manager - Central Coast of California

  • QA Supervisor role is located in SLO County and is with a global food production company and this role will move into a Manager role

QA Manager - Oxnard, California

  • Industry leading company with proven ability to be a strategic business partner
  • Manufacturing or agriculture environment experience

Director VP of Human Resources - California

  • Senior level HR experience with union experience needed, strong compensation program available

Maintenance Manager - Central Coast, California

  • Maintenance professional needed for strong produce company, experience managing and experience with refrigerated systems needed

Senior Cost Accountant - Oxnard, California

  • Established agriculture company. Minimum 4 years cost accounting experience within a manufacturing environment

Director of Warehousing - Shipping and Logistics - Central Coast California

  • Established, growing company seeking senior level warehousing, shipping and logistics experience

Director of Logistics - Oxnard, California

  • Newly created position for this industry leading agriculture company
  • Minimum 10 years management experience

Warehouse Manager - Los Angeles, CA Area

  • Seeking experience with: cold storage environments; perishable food (preferably produce); import product and documentation; inventory; food safety. Bilingual (English-Spanish) preferred

Full Job Listings Page

For more information contact Produce Careers at 805/481.3200 x10 or

Christopher Ranch says food trends moving fresh produce to the center of the table

Flavor is uppermost in the minds of consumers who want to serve their families and friends memorable meals. But food movements today, such as the Obama administration’s nutritional initiatives, along with other programs developed to help fight obesity and increase nutrition, are also causing trends to focus on produce.

Patsy Ross, marketing manager for Christopher Ranch headquartered in Gilroy, CA, said incorporating vegetables and making them the center of the plate is a popular and growing theme today.

And adding flavorful ingredients, such as garlic, is helping people to become acquainted, or reacquainted, with produce.

“Christopher Ranch is more than just garlic,” explained Ross. “We also grow shallots and elephant garlic, and we handle pearl onions, cipolline onions, boiler onions and ginger. Our line also includes a variety of dried Mexican chilies and a full line of value-added items including pesto, sundried tomatoes, oregano, basil and Jalapeno peppers.”

All of these products add zest and great flavor to virtually every dish they are used in.

For over 50 years the Christopher family has been growing superior California garlic. The company takes great pride in providing the highest quality, most flavorful and healthy garlic available today.

Christopher Ranch is a true steward of the land in its goal of ensuring the continuation of crops from year to year. It is fully committed to sustainable farming in every aspect of its operation.

Food safety is also of paramount importance to the company.

It works continuously to improve and maintain high standards of quality and sanitation in its growing, processing and packing facilities.

In addition to its wide range of fresh, peeled, packaged and value-added jarred garlic products, Christopher Ranch offers organic garlic, also in an extensive range of formats.

The company supplies its customers from its numerous strategically located facilities in the United States.

“We work with retailers, wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers across the nation,” added Ross.

Fall activities highlight Ocean Spray’s 85th anniversary

Ocean Spray is marking its 85th year with a full slate of fall activities that will highlight the longtime cooperative’s role as the leading cranberry marketer.

“Fall is our big season, and this year will be very exciting,” said Sharon Newcomb, associate global brands communications manager at Ocean Spray. “We’re planning many activities to give a nod to our 85th year.”

Again in 2015, Ocean Spray will feature its “Bogs Across America” event, now in its 11th year. The event takes place in conjunction with Disney’s Food & Wine Festival held at the Epcot Center. The festival kicks off Sept. 25 and runs until Nov. 16.

“We have a partnership with Disney for our ‘Craisins’ brand,” said Newcomb. “In addition to handing out samples of ‘Craisins,’ we’ll have a bog set up there and we’ll have grower-owners on hand the opening weekend to interact with the guests and educate them about the cranberry harvest.”

Later in the fall, Ocean Spray will hold its Harvest Celebration and Cranberry Festival Oct. 17 behind Patriot Place at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA.

“In the fall, we invite people to come to Patriot Place and watch us harvest a real cranberry bog,” said Newcomb. “Bass Pro Shops also puts on some activities and live music, and most of the restaurants at Patriot Place have cranberry-inspired dishes to sample during what is called a Taste of Patriot Place. So it is really a great family-oriented fall day that is free to the public.”

Ocean Spray will return to the Big Apple for its annual celebration at Rockefeller Center. There, on Nov. 3-4, a bog will be constructed to draw attention to the iconic fall fruit and educate the public about ways to use them on their holiday tables.

“The New York celebration is a little later this year, but we wanted to hold it closer to Thanksgiving in honor of our 85th year,” said Newcomb.

Newcomb said that Ocean Spray cranberries have been a staple on the holiday table for 85 years, and the cooperative is looking to play up its longevity in the eyes of consumers.

“People love their cranberry sauce, and we’re doing some research around cranberry sauce and how trends and traditions have changed over the years,” she said. “We’ll be sharing a lot of information in terms of stats for the company and different highlights throughout those years, as well as imagery from throughout the years, including a limited-quantity run of throwback sauce cans with 1950s graphics. It will be a retrospective of Thanksgiving, and we think it will be a lot of fun.”

Finally, Ocean Spray will cap off its fall activities with its float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the seventh year it has participated in the popular fall event.

“It will be a pretty packed fall as usual, but we’re excited about all the fun activities we have planned around our 85th anniversary celebration,” she said.

Over-the-top, most expensive specialty produce items

Everyone would agree that specialty produce deserves the premium it often garners. Items in the category are in great demand among foodservice operators and home foodies alike due to their special flavors and unique qualities.

But a few fruits and vegetables are priced so high that the mere mention of the prices they demand is enough to make anyone outside of the billion-dollar net-worth coterie gasp for air.

Believe it or not — there is a pineapple that sells for $16,000 and they’re not grown in the tropics. They grow at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, in Cornwall, England, a destination that draws thousands of visitors annually.MatsutakeMatsutake mushrooms sell for around $1,000 a pound, when they are available.

The pineapples are grown in a pit that is heated using a chemical reaction between 30 tons of manure, urine and piles of straw. It’s this nurturing from which the value is derived. In fact, the pineapples are not sold, but rather enjoyed by the staff at the gardens that have been growing them the same way since the 19th century. At one time in history, the gardens rented the pineapples to wealthy Victorian families as a dinner table decoration.

In Belgium and Holland, you can pay over $1,000 for a kilo of hop shoots. These are the green tips of the hop plant that are removed from the flowers used in creating beer. According to The, this most expensive vegetable in the world looks like a runty herb.

According to Melissa Cole, who distributed hundreds of shoots to London restaurants for the London Hop Shoot festival in May, they are expensive because they’re absolutely back-breaking to harvest.

“They don’t grow in a uniform row, so each one you pick requires you to hunch over and really hunt around,” said Cole. “Plus they’re tiny so you need to pick hundreds to fill a carrier bag.”

Raw, hop shoots taste a bit like nettles. Cooked, however, the leaves take on a kale-like quality, which could explain the price and demand.

Noirmoutier, an island just off the coast of western France, is the only place in the world that the most expensive potato in the world, the “La Bonnotte,” is produced. Only around 100 tons are cultivated annually. The cost of one pound can on occasion — remember that supply-and-demand rule also applies here — sell for more than $300 dollars.

Wikipedia’s author tells us the cost is attributed to the potato being nearly extinct. The fields require fertilization by seaweed in a climate shaped by the nearby sea, which give this tuber its delicate flavor. It also must be harvested by hand, and picked, not torn.

“La Bonnotte” potatoes are typically served in mid-May at high-end restaurants in France and the Netherlands.

The price leader in the Fungi category is the Italian White Alba truffle. This wild mushroom is so difficult to find that determining a market price per pound is impossible. The record price paid for a single white truffle was set in Russian a few years ago. The buyer paid $95,000 for the world’s largest specimen found in recorded history; four-pounds.

Following it is the Matsutake mushroom at around $1,000 a pound, when it’s available. While its historical prevalence meant it was nearly synonymous with autumn in Japan, the introduction of an insect that kills the trees under which the mushroom grows has caused a dramatic decrease in the number of Matsutake mushrooms now harvested. A method for farming the Matsutake is not yet developed, which means the lack of trees from which to harvest these mushrooms naturally is a serious problem for the species.

Two melons also make the world’s most expensive foods’ list; the Yubari King, a cantaloupe-like melon, and the Densuke variety black watermelon.

A pair of the Yubari sold for $15,730 in Japan a couple of years ago. According to, this orange-fleshed melon is prized for its juicy sweetness and its beautiful proportions. The Yubari is considered a status symbol in Japan, and is often presented as a lavish gift to a host or employer — no doubt by an employee hoping for a raise.

The Densuke is rare in that it is grown only on Hokkaido Island in Japan. A harvest typically yields only a few fruits.

Aside from its rarity, attributing to its value — one weighing 17 pounds once sold for $6,100 — is that its hardness and crispness, combined with what is referred to as the perfect level of sweetness, make the watermelon incomparable.

It’s interesting to note that offers both Yubari and Densuke seeds for a few dollars a pack.

Customized Brokers geared and ready for berry import increases this year

Consumers in North America have become accustomed to having berries 12 months a year, and imports enable that to happen.

Nelly Yunta, vice president of Customized Brokers in Miami, said the company anticipates an increase in berry volumes this season.

“Some of our customers are increasing their productions in Argentina,” said Yunta. “Peru is also planning to continue expansion of growing areas and production.”

Customized Brokers is owned by Crowley Maritime Corporation, based in Jacksonville, FL. Crowley, a family- and employee-owned company, provides transportation and logistics services in United States and international markets.

Customized Brokers provides services to its customers at the PortMiami and Port Everglades. It also handles ocean cargo in ports in California and Michigan.

“The berries that come through Customized Brokers are primarily from Argentina, Chile and Peru, with Chile as the source of the largest volume for us,” said Yunta. “We do not distinguish berry categories, so therefore we don’t have data on changes by category. However, all berry categories continually increase, and we anticipate it would again this season.”

Yunta explained that while there are no new U.S. Customs & Border Protection restrictions on imported berries, the ones put in place last year continue to be in effect.

“We encountered Chilean berries that were affected by the Lobesia botrans, as well as continued concerns with the Medfly last season” she said. “The requirements are cold treatment or fumigation. These treatments can be performed in Chile, in transit or at arrival to the port, with certain restrictions. Customized Brokers can help customers determine the best course of action before importing.”

Customized Brokers, Yunta stressed, offers 24-hour-a day, seven-day-a-week, 365-day-a-year service, and a client web portal.

“This portal offers full visibility into the U.S. Customs & Border Protection process,” Yunta pointed out. “Additionally, through partnerships with parent company Crowley Maritime Corp., Customized Brokers can provide full logistics solutions, including a cold-storage distribution and warehouse facility, CrowleyFresh, in Miami, for shippers.”

In August, Yunta said that on Nov. 1, the trade community will be required to use Customs & Border Protection’s Automated Customs Environment for all electronic cargo release and related entry summary filing.

The Nov. 1 benchmark is the second in the three-step process to fully implement ACE as the single window for filing electronic data in lieu of legacy systems.

“The government agencies have been working on this for a long time to get it going,” explained Yunta. “In the future, they will all see the same documents. We truly expect this is going to be good. The agencies have done a good job in promoting the single window.”

According to U.S. Customs & Border Protection, ACE features will modernize and streamline trade processing across all sectors. ACE capabilities cover manifest, cargo release, post release, export and partner government agencies. It will be fully implemented on Oct. 1, 2016.