Galone named marketing VP at Diamond Fruit
March 01, 2005
by Kathleen Thomas Gaspar
Fruit industry veteran Neil Galone recently relocated from the Yakima Valley in Washington state to the mid-Columbia area of Oregon and Washington, where he has taken the position of vice president of marketing for Diamond Fruit Growers Inc. in Odell, OR.
Mr. Galone, who brought 25 years of experience to the Diamond team when he arrived Feb. 14, will eventually replace Marketing Vice President Gerry Jessup, who will retire in late May.
Most recently associated with Snokist Growers in Yakima, where he was vice president of sales, Mr. Galone has also worked with citrus shippers in Florida. Diamond Fruit President and General Manager Ron Giardelli said that Mr. Galone?s experience in the industry is appreciated.
?We are pleased that Neil has joined the sales team and are looking forward to having him involved in our program," Mr. Giardelli said.
Mr. Galone noted that he looks forward to his involvement with the well-respected operation.
?Diamond has an excellent reputation in the industry for both pears and cherries, and I am excited about the opportunity of working with them," he said.
Mr. Galone went on to say that Diamond?s growers "understand the demands of today?s customers and are committed to growing the quality of fruit necessary to meet those demands."
The 92-year-old cooperative, one of the older in the nation, represents more than 100 growers from Oregon and Washington. The primary label is "Diamond," and other labels are "Panorama," "Jewel? and "Mountain Edge."
Mr. Galone said that most growers produce only pears, although approximately 20 percent of the members also grow cherries.
?We have a couple of growers that do cherries only," he added.
In all, Diamond?s growers produce more than 55,000 tons of fresh pears each year, which is approximately 10 percent of the Northwest?s total volume, making the cooperative the largest supplier in the United States.
Packing is done from three warehouses, and Mr. Galone said, "At the main office, Diamond Central, we do both pre-size and commit-to-pack. At Parkdale, Oregon, we do pre-size, and we have a commit-to-pack line in Odell, Oregon, where we do varietal pears."
Explaining that just a few pear shippers presize their pears, Mr. Galone said that this aspect of Diamond?s service is unique.
?Since we pre-size, it gives us an opportunity to provide a fresher pack to our customers, as we do more pack for specific orders. Pre-sizing also helps us get the right product in the appropriate package," he said.
Diamond packs in standard half- and full cartons, and it also packs in bags, Euros, RPCs and custom requests. The sheds are Primus-certified, Mr. Galone added.
He said that Diamond is "beginning to pack RipeSense, but only has a limited offering at this time." Mr. Galone said, "We do expect that this interest will grow."
Of the 2005 growing season, Mr. Galone noted that Diamond " much like all fruit producers in the Northwest " has concerns about both water and transportation.
?This has been a very light year for precipitation in the Northwest, and it will be an issue for us all," he said. "At this point, however, we do not think that we will have the problems that they could experience in Yakima or Wenatchee."
Transportation is a growing issue, Mr. Galone continued.
?As fuel continues to rise in cost, it becomes increasingly more difficult to get trucks to do split loads. Because we are somewhat isolated from the apple industry, that does sometimes create logistics problems for us. Some of our customers, however, recognize that pears are a significant variety, and in increasing numbers they are using straight loads of pears from this area, and this helps," he said.
?We also have a couple of shippers in Yakima that maintain an inventory of our product in their warehouse, which helps to have our product included on mixed loads of apples and pears."