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BelleHarvest hires new VP of sales and marketing

Belding, MI-based BelleHarvest Sales Inc. announced Jan. 23 the hiring of industry veteran CHRIS SANDWICK as vice president of sales and marketing. He brings an expertise in brand management and a passion for consumer engagement to the position.

Mr. Sandwick joins BelleHarvest with 20 years of produce industry experience under his belt.

For the past 10 years he worked at Pepin Heights Orchard Inc., where he ascended to the role of director of sales and marketing. Prior to that, he spent six years with Supervalu, where he was a merchandiser.

Mr. Sandwick got his start in the produce industry working hands-on in a supermarket produce department.

"Adding Chris to our organization strengthens our ability to continue sales growth while increasing consumer recognition of our brand," said Mike Rothwell, president and general manager of BelleHarvest Sales. "Our growers are excited by the move and are eager to challenge us with a bountiful harvest in 2013."

While it is too early to tell what the 2013 crop will bring, the alternating up-and-down pattern bodes well for the next crop Michigan apples.

"All things being equal, we expect a large crop in 2013," Mr. Rothwell told The Produce News Jan. 24. "You try to manage that crop load from year to year, but there was no managing last year's crop load - it was just light."

Prior to this past year, the smallest since 1959 was 11.19 million bushels, "and we were one-third of that," he said.

"We anticipate 2013 to be a very large crop if Mother Nature cooperates. We can have too many too," he noted. "We need a decent transition year."