With summer here, SunFed has Perfect Produce from Texas to meet demand for traditional summertime veggies — tomatoes, Bell peppers and eggplants — that are great for grilling as well as snacking.sunfed

“We’ve been operating in Texas for many years, but in terms of having a facility there and a full-on program, this is our third year,” Craig Slate, vice president of sales, said in a press release. “So we’re anticipating a much larger program than we’ve had in the past. We’re excited to have squash as well as cucumbers, a large Roma program, and we will also be adding eggplant this year. Eggplant is not something we’ve had in Texas in the past, and that will hit mid- to late summer.”
After its inaugural season, the company plans to take its eggplant program year-round, and SunFed hopes to eliminate seasonality from all its offerings in the long term. As year-round demand increases from consumers looking to keep that summer feeling going, SunFed is working hard to meet customers’ needs with expanding growing programs in Texas, increased value-added offerings, and even new sustainably sourced products to bolster the company’s lines.
“We envision a year-round program on everything that we’re doing,” Craig said, “with a smaller offering from Nov. 1  through June 1 when Nogales will make up the larger portion of our operation.”
For SunFed, Texas serves as an important distribution hub from which the company can leverage its proximity to coastal markets to its advantage — particularly in the off season when decreased travel time can be a significant boon — providing optimally fresh product to consumers across the country.

“During the summer months, Texas is the natural destination point due to proximity of growing regions; whereas, because it’s a year-round opportunity, during the winter months, that is when we’re going to utilize our Texas operations to give us access to the entire East Coast,” Matt Mandel, vice president of operations, said in the release. “It’s a freshness advantage in that the supply chain going to the east coast will shave a day — sometimes two — off of transit times compared to Nogales.”

With new category expansions, increased logistical capabilities, and the promise of new product offerings to be announced later this summer, the future is as bright as the Texas sun for SunFed.

Richard Dufresne will be appointed president of George Weston Ltd., retaining his current chief financial officer responsibilities, and continuing to report to Galen G. Weston, chairman and chief executive officer of George Weston and Loblaw Cos, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Over the next few months, Dufresne will transition out of his parallel role as CFO of Loblaw Cos. As part of this transition, Darren Myers will join Loblaw Sept. 1 as executive vice president of finance, reporting to Dufresne, and on Jan. 1 he will be appointed CFO of Loblaw Cos., reporting to Weston.

"Richard has made an enormous contribution in his time as CFO of both Loblaw and George Weston, including his role in the creation of Choice Properties REIT, the acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart, and the subsequent realization of synergies," Weston said in a press release. "He has been a thoughtful and decisive contributor to the management board and I look forward to continuing to work closely with him in his new role as president and CFO, George Weston Limited.

"In Darren, we have found an excellent financial executive, with experience in a broad and complex business," he said. "He brings with him both a commitment to exceptional performance, and to values consistent with our own culture journey. His perspective will be a valuable addition to our Loblaw management board."

Dufresne joined George Weston Ltd. in 2012 and Loblaw in 2014, holding parallel responsibilities as CFO at both companies. This followed prior experience as CFO at a large food distributor and a career in investment banking.

Myers joins Loblaw from Celestica where he was most recently executive vice president and CFO, building on prior finance roles in the organization, and with Bell Canada and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Debbie Negron, who spent almost her entire professional career with The Produce News, died unexpectedly on Monday, June 19. She was 57 years old and a resident of Westchester County, NY.Debbie-headshot

"The Produce News family is devastated by this loss," said Jack Bricker, president of The Produce News. "Debbie has been with us for more than 30 years and was a major contributor to the success of the publication. And she was beloved by her customers. We are still processing this, and we are all still in shock."

"When I joined The Produce News more than 22 years ago, my first assignment was to accompany Debbie early one February morning when she was making the rounds at the Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx," said John Groh, editor and publisher of The Produce News. "I was immediately impressed at the ease with which she moved about the market and interacted with the heavy-hitters there. Weeks later, I attended my first Eastern Produce Council meeting with Debbie, and as she worked her way around the room greeting old friends and making new ones, I witnessed first-hand how her magnetic personality and her 'gift of gab' made her such a beloved member of the industry.

"Debbie was one of a kind, and her untimely passing is a true loss for The Produce News and the industry at large,” Groh added. “We will miss her dearly, and our thoughts and prayers go out to her daughter, Averie, and son, Zachary, as well as her extended family."

Deborah Jean Aron was born Nov. 17, 1959, in Manhattan. She graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1977, and earned a bachelor of arts degree in accounting and business practice from Lehman College in 1983.

She worked for a few years at RCA, but in 1987 she accepted a position in sales at The Produce News. She was promoted to advertising manager in 1995 and would remain with the company until the day she died. Over the years, she grew to understand, appreciate and love the fresh produce industry and the people who make it so vibrant and exciting.

Debbie married Ray Negron in 1984, and they lived in Rockland County, NY, north of New York City. Mr. Negron died in 2009. Debbie, who moved to Westchester County in 2014, is survived by their two children, Averie, 26, and Zachary, 21, along with her sister, Alice Cohen, and her husband, Neal; two nephews, Will and Adam; and her partner, Barry Friedlich.

"Debbie loved entertaining, she loved traveling and cooking, and she loved spending time with family and friends," said Alice. "She had a wonderful sense of humor. Her warmth and her kindness toward others will be greatly missed."

A funeral service is scheduled for Thursday, June 22 at 11 a.m. at Hellman’s Memorial Chapel, 15 State Street, Spring Valley, NY, with interment at Frederick Loescher Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 220 Brick Church Road, Spring Valley, NY. The family will receive visitors immediately following at 153 Hungerford Road North, Briarcliff Manor, NY. On Friday, the family will receive visitors from 12 to 8 p.m. at 149 Mount Joy Place, New Rochelle, NY, and again on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. in New Rochelle.

* * *

Finally, if I may add on a personal note, I have known Debbie since that day she walked into The Produce News office all those years ago. She brought a passion to work with her every day, and she truly enjoyed talking about the industry and what she could do to help her customers. Of course, whenever we would chat, she never tired of telling me the latest news about her kids, whom she was so very proud of.

Down through the years, as she worked with customers around the country, she got to know them better and better. Many of those customers became so much more to Debbie. She considered them friends, and she just loved working with them.

Debbie Negron's tragic death is a loss for her personal family, as well as for her Produce News family, that will be deeply felt for a very, very long time.

The Fresh Market's Rick Anicetti has resigned as chief executive officer and board member. Chief Financial Officer Brian Nicholson has been appointed interim CEO, effective immediately, and will assume this position in addition to his current role.fresh

The company said it appreciates Anicetti’s significant contributions and service and wishes him luck in his future endeavors.

Along with Nicholson, The Fresh Market’s current senior leadership team is expected to continue to execute the company’s strategic plan and adapt as needed to the evolving marketplace.

Nicholson has served as the company’s senior vice president and CFO since returning to The Fresh Market in September 2016. From 2004 to 2012, he held a variety of positions for the company, including serving as vice president in the business strategy, financial planning and analysis function from 2005 to 2012.

The Fresh Market’s board of directors said it has great confidence in Nicholson as the right person to guide the company in this interim period.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on three produce businesses — Gamez Produce, Goodness Greeness and David & Son Peppers — for failure to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:

  • Gamez Produce LLC, operating out of Hackensack, NJ, for failing to pay a $97,775 award in favor of a New Jersey seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Faustimo Gamez was listed as a member of the business.

  • Goodness Greeness Inc. operating out of Chicago for failing to pay a $16,179 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Howard Berington, Richard T. Scaman and Robert L. Scaman Jr. were listed as the officers, directors and major stockholders of the business. Another principal of the business at the time of the order was Rodney J. Scaman. He has challenged his responsibly connected status.

  • David & Son Peppers Inc., operating out of Tampa, FL, for failing to pay a $3,242 award in favor of a Florida seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Mary Martinez was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.

In the past three years, the USDA resolved approximately 3,500 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. Its experts also assisted more than 8,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $140 million