Steve Circle, sales director at Sunrise Growers Inc. in Placentia, CA, will be leaving Sunrise and joining Main Street Produce Inc. in Santa Maria as director of strawberry marketing and sales. "He is going to work here starting in February," Main Street's President Paul Allen told The Produce News.
Sunrise Growers, a subsidiary of frozen fruit processor Frozsun Foods, is "going to wrap things up on the fresh side," so Circle is coming to Main Street"with all of his experience and knowledge. We are very excited to have him on board," Allen said.
With Circle at Main Street, "I am going to be stepping off of the sales desk myself and having Steve take over for me," he said.
Circle confirmed to The Produce News that Sunrise is phasing out of the fresh strawberry business but said that Sunrise Growers-Frozsun Foods "is and will continue to be" the largest frozen fruit processing operation in North America.
Main Street Produce, which primarily grows strawberries and broccoli, has added three new growers and increased its strawberry acreage for the 2014 season by about 50 acres in Santa Maria, bringing the total to around 350 acres, Allen said. "We have three varieties: San Andreas, Monterey and Albion."
Because of warmer-than-usual winter weather, the harvest in Santa Maria was coming on faster than normal. "We expect to start picking San Andreas the middle of February," he said.
The company has recently implemented a traceability program that will be in effect this season. "We are going to be PTI compliant this year on our boxes for the chain stores," Allen said. Also, "we have hired additional quality-control personnel both in the field and at the cooler."