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It’s been a banner year for Jim DiMenna and JemD International

Jim DiMenna, president of JemD International, a major distributor of greenhouse produce, and president of J-D Marketing, a partial owner of Jem-D International, is taking on even more responsibilities this year. Both JemD International and J-D Marketing are headquartered in Kingsville, ON.

Mr. DiMenna is gearing up to step into the role of chairman of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association for 2012 and 2013.

“I am currently the vice chairman, and I serve on the executive committee of CPMA,” said Mr. DiMenna. “I’ll be following in the footsteps of Tom Byttynen, the current chairman. His vision and leadership has served the organization in wonderful ways. Once I’m chair I’ll be able to continue to strive for the goals that CPMA has set and its leaders have worked tirelessly toward accomplishing.”

Mr. DiMenna was also elected to the Produce Traceability Initiative, or PTI, in 2010. The PTI is sponsored by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, the Produce Marketing Association and the United Fresh Produce Association. It is designed to help the industry maximize the effectiveness of current trace-back procedures, while developing a standardized industry approach to enhance the speed and efficiency of traceability systems for the future.

PTI outlines a course of action to achieve supply chain-wide adoption of electronic traceability of every case of produce by the year 2012.

“PTI continues to assure consumers that fruits and vegetables marketed in North America are safe, and if there ever is a problem we can attend to it immediately and efficiently,” said Mr. DiMenna.

Mr. DiMenna said JemD is taking the opportunity to help lead the industry and to drive needed initiatives forward through these appointments to trade organizations. He added, “These appointments provide me with an opportunity to offer my assistance to the industry in any way I possibly can.”

Mr. DiMenna said that the company appointed Adrian Abbott as director of operations as of July 4. Mr. Abbott has over two decades of experience in the produce industry. He previously served as director of marketing and industry relations with B.C. Tree Fruits.

“Adrian joining our team is truly an achievement for our company,” said Mr. DiMenna. “With his knowledge and vast experience in produce operations, Adrian will positively contribute to the growth of our company as we continue our expansions throughout North America.

Mr. Abbott will be based in Kingsville and will oversee the day-to-day operations of the distribution center and facility. He will be responsible for occupational health and safety initiatives, the company’s food-safety programs, audits, PTI milestones and industry relations.

Mr. DiMenna said that all of the company’s operations are being increased by almost 40 acres this year, which will be used to produce its extensive line of greenhouse peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. He also said that the company is in the process of readying new items that it will launch in the fall of 2011.

JemD’s partnership with El Rosal in Mexico continues to show results. El Rosal is a technically advanced greenhouse operation in Numaran, Michoacan. Mr. DiMenna and Jamie Mastronardi, vice president of Jem-D, announced the partnership in October 2008, firming up a commitment with El Rosal to share the mutual goal of better servicing customers on a year-round basis with consistently high quality hydroponic produce. El Rosal’s operation has expanded every year since the partnership was formed.

Mr. DiMenna said that all Ontario greenhouse vegetables are moving well currently and they are all high-quality.

“We’re in the middle of our season in Ontario,” he said. “The cucumber movement has been a very nice front for us. The item is high-quality and it enjoys a strong market.

“Production at the start of Ontario’s season was a little weaker than we’d like due to rain and clouds that blocked out the sun, but we’re back to normal volumes on everything,” he continued. “JemD has improved its offerings and provides quality service. Combined, these assets have made our company one that other professionals look up too.”