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Steve Poindexter joins Sun Coast Farms as CEO

Steve Poindexter, who spent the last three years as director of business trade development and national accounts for Railex LLC and was previously a partner in Crown Jewels Marketing & Distribution LLC in Fresno, CA, has joined Sun Coast Farms Sales LLC as chief executive officer.

Sun Coast Farms, a grower-shipper-processor based in in Santa Maria, CA, is owned by Sonny Smith, who founded the company in 2003.

Smith "farms about 4,000 acres, between California and Arizona," growing mainly lettuce, leaf items, broccoli and cauliflower, Poindexter told The Produce News Dec. 11. "He's got a fully integrated operation. He grows his own product, he harvests his own product, and he packs his own product. He has his own cooler, so he's got real good control from start to finish on quality and food safety."

Smith also owns a fruit and vegetable fresh-cut processing facility and distribution facility in Carrollton, TX, called SCF Texas, "where we do processing for some of the larger restaurant chains," Poindexter said.

Wanting to spend more time on the farming side, finding ways to "improve on the growing and packing," Smith was looking for somebody who could come in and oversee the other aspects of the business, Poindexter said.

Poindexter began his produce career more than 30 years ago at H&H Avocado. From there he went to Sun World for 12 years, eventually becoming vice president of sales. He has also done independent consulting for various companies.

In 2000, Poindexter joined Crown Jewels Marketing as a partner and was there until 2010, when he took a position with Railex.

Sun Coast has plans to expand into the West Mexico produce scene with an office and warehouse in Nogales, AZ.

"We will be looking at grower deals," Poindexter said. "We are looking at ways to synergize our products with items in Nogales, which makes it easier for the retailers or foodservice companies to load at one spot and have more items."

Poindexter's experience in the Nogales deal was a factor in the company's decision to move in that direction.

"I have dealt with Mexico for 20 years," he said "As we look to expanding the processing facility in Texas, a lot of those items lend themselves to that side of it — the peppers and the squashes and so forth."