March 28, 2013
In Today's Issue:
United Fresh Names Honorees in 2013 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program

Tom Stenzel tours the Food Maxx/Save Mart Supermarkets produce department of 2013 Retail Produce Manager Award Winner Darren Estermann, in Visalia, CA during the Fresh Impact Tour.

(L-R) Greg Corrigan, VP of Produce & Floral, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores; Corey Watkins, 2013 RMA Winner, Raley's Family of Fine Stores; Ryan Acosta, 2013 RMA Winner, Raley's Family of Fine Stores; and United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel; at Raley’s in Elk Grove, CA.

Exceptional produce managers representing 21 different supermarket chains, commissaries and independent retail stores in 16 states and Canada will be the honored guests at United Fresh 2013 this May through the United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards Program. 

Sponsored by Ready Pac Foods, the awards program is now in its ninth year and is presented through the Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence. The awards pay special recognition to those on the front-line in supermarkets working everyday to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.

“The produce department is one of the most important customer touch points for the fresh produce industry and we are so fortunate to have these outstanding professionals positively representing our industry,” said United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel. “Through their creative merchandising and innovative presentations, they are making fresh fruits and vegetables shine in their stores.”

The 2013 Retail Produce Manager Award Winners are:

  • Ryan Acosta, Raley's Family of Fine Stores, Sacramento, CA
  • Louis Brock, Quality Food Centers, Seattle, WA
  • Manson Camp, Weis Markets, Williamsport, PA 
  • Kevin Cazeaux, Rouses Markets, New Orleans, LA
  • Lavern Clark, Brookshire Grocery Company, Alexandria, LA
  • Darren Estermann, Food Maxx/Save Mart Supermarkets, Visalia, CA 
  • David Fitts, Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Charlotte, NC
  • Jim Fleming, Price Chopper/Golub Corporation, Newburgh, NY
  • Ken Gaylord, Safeway Stores, Portland, OR
  • Aaron Geohring, Ray's Food Place, Grants Pass, OR
  • Donna Goodman, Daniel's Sentry Store, Whitewater, WI
  • James Gordy, Safeway Stores, Auburn, CA
  • Doug Groendyke, King’s Supermarkets, Gillette, NJ
  • Rick Hogan, Hugo's Family Marketplace, Grand Forks, ND
  • Deborah Horton, Ft. Worth NAS Commissary, Fort Worth, TX
  • Pat Kapelka, The Kroger Company, Tiffin, OH
  • James May, Food City/K-VA-T Food Stores, South Williamson, KY
  • Maureen McCarthy, Ft. Bragg North Commissary, Ft. Bragg, NC
  • Nathan Mineart, Hy-Vee, Inc., East Marion, IA
  • Nicholas Olivieri, Pathmark, Bethpage, NY
  • Bill Power, Dominion, St John’s, NFL, Canada
  • Brett Reed, Hy-Vee, Inc., Windsor Heights, IA
  • Frankie Thacker, Food City/K-VA-T Food Stores, Rogersville, TN
  • Jeffrey Vocatura, Big Y Foods, Stratford, CT
  • Corey Watkins, Raley's Family of Fine Stores, Elk Grove, CA

“The professionalism and exceptional talent these retail managers have demonstrated deserves to be recognized and honored,” said Ready Pac’s President and CEO, Michael Solomon. “Ready Pac is proud to sponsor this program and offer our congratulations to these hard-working individuals and companies for their tireless promotion of the fresh produce industry!”

The program’s 25 winners were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by retailers and produce suppliers across the industry. Nominations were evaluated on a number of criteria, including efforts to increase produce consumption through excellence in merchandising, special displays and promotions, community service and commitment to customer satisfaction.

All winners and their corporate produce directors will be honored at United Fresh 2013 during the Produce Celebration Dinner on Thursday, May 16. In addition to the awards, five Grand Prize recipients will receive an additional $1,000 cash prize. The Produce Retail Manager Award winners will also be featured in a panel discussion on the United Fresh 2013 trade show floor in the Fresh Marketplace Learning Center, where they will share their perspectives on creative produce merchandising strategies during this special education session.


Skydiving in San Diego? United CEO Tom Stenzel Says “Meet Me at the Midway”

United CEO Tom Stenzel and skydiving instructors prepare to board the plane for the big jump!

Stenzel catches his breath on the deck of the USS Midway.

The California Fresh Impact Tour concluded this week in San Diego, site of the United Fresh Horizons 2013 convention, with a happy hour celebration with local convention hosts from Andrew & Williamson, Costco Wholesale, Diversified Restaurant Systems, and International Paper.

Topping off the San Diego celebration, United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel took his excitement to new heights with a skydiving leap from two miles high to promote United’s Opening Night Party on the flight deck of the USS Midway. Speaking from the deck of the Midway, Stenzel said, “After visiting members in 22 cities across California and hosting 8 town hall meetings, we wanted to do something fun to celebrate the convention coming to San Diego. Now that was fun!”

See Stenzel's big jump and his bird's eye view of San Diego in this exclusive video!

“Throughout our two weeks on the road, members kept telling us how excited they are about the coming convention, and that’s contagious! This year’s show will be full of the top-flight education, memorable networking events, and serious business between buyers and sellers that the industry has come to expect from United,” he said.

The historic USS Midway will be the site of this year’s unforgettable Opening Party. The good news is that attendees won’t have to parachute onto the deck of this historic aircraft carrier to gain access to the Opening Party. All it takes in an All Access Pass. Special discounts are available until April 1, so register now!

The All Access Pass includes: the Opening Party aboard the USS Midway; inspiring general sessions with Keynote Speakers Walter Robb, Co-CEO Whole Foods; the Morning Joe team featuring Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, Market Segment Breakfasts & Super Sessions, the Expert Council Workshop Series; the annual Reception Honoring Women in Produce; the Chairman’s Reception & Produce Celebration Dinner; and the new Post-Show Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference.

For more information or to register your team today, please visit

United’s Fresh Impact Tour Concludes in California

Tom Deardorff II, Vice-Chairman of United's Grower-Shipper board and President, Deardorff Family Farms, welcomes attendees to Thursday's Oxnard Town Hall Luncheon.

On the final leg of the two-week California Fresh Impact Tour, United CEO Tom Stenzel was joined by Jeff Oberman, vice president of trade relations, for town hall events in Oxnard, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino. More than 30 members attended the luncheon hosted by Tom Deardorff II, President of Deardorff Family Farms and vice chairman of United’s Grower-Shipper Board at his new Oxnard-based facility, where attendees were treated to lunch, with a menu featuring their products. The tour continued through Los Angeles for a breakfast town hall and on to a luncheon co-hosted by Stater Bros. and Westlake Produce Company in San Bernardino. These events addressed the needs and perspectives of wholesaler-distributors, brokers, grower-shippers and transportation suppliers on current industry issues.

“A special thank you to all of our members who came out to the Fresh Impact Tour events,” said United CEO Tom Stenzel. “This dialogue informs our priorities moving forward as we address FSMA, immigration reform, increased consumption through the Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools campaign and other issues as an association and a united industry.”

See highlights from the 2013 California Fresh Impact Tour on the United Fresh Facebook page!


What I Learned About Salad Bars from My Visit to an Anaheim School

Dick Spezzano, President of Spezzano Consulting Service, Co-Chair of Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools campaign, shares his experience of seeing a salad bar in action.

The busy salad bar at Western High School in Anaheim, California.

There’s no better evidence of the amazing impact school salad bars are having than seeing, first-hand, how they are changing the lives of kids every day. That’s what happened three weeks ago when Wes Liefer, CEO Pura Vida Farms, and I visited Western High School in Anaheim Unified School District to see their salad bar, which was donated by the Fresh Produce and Floral Council last year.  Ms. Terry Pangorn-Gerner, Food Service Director, told us that during her 22 years at the district she has never been involved with anything that has yielded greater benefits on the diet and general health of her students than the salad bar project.  

Pangorn-Gerner’s students love the salad bar, they are able to select what they like and eat almost everything she puts out, with hardly any of the fresh produce thrown away. She explained that she is now purchasing thirty percent more produce than before the salad bars were installed. The day we visited, the bar was stocked with fresh spinach, celery sticks, baby carrots, cucumbers, sliced green peppers, tomatoes, raisins, sliced apples, whole apples, bananas, two kinds of lettuce and low fat and fat free dressings.

We also spoke with a few students who all said they like being able to pick what they put on their plate.  These kids feel empowered to choose what they eat. One student was excited to tell me that when they have strawberries on the salad bar it is her favorite day of the week.

I believe that school salad bars are a game changer! Salad bars are really helping tens of thousands of California students eat more fresh fruits and vegetables – today and for many years to come. I am convinced that salad bars, coupled with the new school lunch standards that require schools to serve more colorful fruits and vegetables, are making a big difference with kids. If a child comes home from school and asks their mom to buy something enjoyed from the salad bar, I can't imagine any mother that wouldn't say "yes.”

I applaud the United Fresh Produce Association’s leadership role in this program, the Produce Marketing Association's recent donation of $100,000, and the Fresh Produce and Floral Council's donation of more than 20 salad bars to California schools during the past year.  

I'm sure Wes will agree with me, what we saw should encourage all of us to support Lets Move Salad Bars to California Schools. Contact me at if you'd like to help kids eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.   

Dick Spezzano   

Co-Chair - Lets Move Salad Bars to California Schools Campaign


United Fresh Discusses FSMA Definitions with Wholesalers, Produce Market Managers

United’s Robert Guenther asks market owners and tenants how different definitions of facilities in the proposed FSMA rules may impact their operations.

Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy, participated on a March 23 panel, “What Do New Food Regulations Mean to Market Owners, Merchants and Tenants,” at the National Association of Produce Market Managers (NAPMM) 2013 Annual Conference in Columbia, Maryland.

Guenther helped lead a discussion of the potential impact of FSMA on terminal markets and wholesale produce operations, focusing on how the proposed Preventive Controls Rule will potentially affect them. He also provided an overview of United’s current efforts related to FSMA, including coordinating with industry work groups comprised of United members to draft comments.

Specific questions from NAPMM members included how common areas at terminal markets will be affected by the proposed rule, as well as how they can educate their tenant companies about the new regulations. NAPMM will work closely with United on comments related to terminal market operations, as well as developing resources to assist wholesale operations in this area.

Miriam Wolk, staff liaison to United Fresh’s Wholesaler-Distributor board, also attended the presentation and met afterwards with NAPMM members to answer additional questions. “The produce industry will be directly affected under the new food safety law,” said Wolk. “We want to make sure that FDA receives feedback from across the supply chain, and we encourage all United members to contribute to the comment process.”

For more information on United’s FSMA efforts, please contact Robert Guenther. For more information on United’s resources for wholesalers and distributors, please contact Miriam Wolk.


United Fresh Heads to New England Produce Council’s Annual Produce & Floral Expo

United Fresh Produce Association is looking forward to participating in the annual New England Produce & Floral Expo next week in Boston. United will be exhibiting in booth #538, so be on the lookout for team members John Toner, vice president of convention & industry relations, and Sophie Drayton, membership coordinator. Stop by and learn about the United Fresh 2013 convention coming to Sunny San Diego in May, membership opportunities, and our annual calendar of events.

“Exhibiting at regional events gives United Fresh a great opportunity to network with industry members, learn about latest regional issues and discuss their impact on a national scale, as well as show support for members in the region,” said Toner.  “We look forward to seeing you in Boston, be sure to stop by and say hello!”

United Fresh always appreciates the opportunity to engage with industry colleagues in the New England. Over the past two years, the New England Produce Council has supported the United Fresh Foundation’s partnership in the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, donating salad bars to East Boston High School (East Boston, MA) and Berlin High School (Berlin, CT).

For more information on the New England Produce & Floral Expo, please visit or contact John Toner at 202-303-3400.


Classic Italian Dishes Bring the Taste of San Diego to Life

Want to experience a Taste of San Diego? Register now for your chance at next week’s featured restaurant: Baci Ristorante. For 14 years in a row, Baci Ristorante has been awarded the AAA Four Diamond Award, but it’s more than San Diego's best Italian restaurant. It’s a neighborhood gathering place that offers the freshest seafood and a comforting selection of classic plates. Start with the Prosciutto appetizer before diving in to linguine with black mussels, pesto, garlic and cream or scampi shrimp over angel hair pasta with a homemade lobster cream sauce.

Every Thursday through May 2, 2013, United Fresh will draw one lucky winner from the United Fresh 2013 registered attendee list. Each winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to one of San Diego's finest restaurants, courtesy of our promotional sponsor, Diversified Restaurant Systems, Inc.

Congratulations to Fred Bohanna, The Kroger Company, this week’s winner of our Taste of San Diego give away. Bohanna will receive a gift certificate to dine at Bully’s East. A San Diego tradition since 1971, Bully’s is known for superior quality, exceptional value and of course, friendly service! Bully’s features award-winning prime rib, fresh seafood, steaks, ribs, and sandwiches.

Register today for United Fresh 2013 and you'll be automatically entered for United's Taste of San Diego giveaway. You could win a gift certificate to one of the best restaurants in San Diego!

The sooner you register, the greater your chances to win a certificate to one of these stellar restaurants:

Baci Ristorante
Bertrand at Mister A’s
Bully’s East
Donovan's Steak & Chop House
George’s at the Cove
Island Prime
Mille Fleurs
On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
Pamplemousse Grill
Poseidon on the Beach
Ruth's Chris Steak House
The Marine Room
The Oceanaire Seafood Room
The Prado at Balboa Park

Learn more about these great restaurants and how you can experience a Taste of San Diego!


United Fresh Member Mark Cassius’s Greenhouses Produce Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Industry Leaders

Mark Cassius enjoys the industry camaraderie of advocating on Capitol Hill at his favorite United Fresh Event – the Washington Public Policy Conference.

For Mark Cassius, food safety isn’t just about delivering the best product to the consumer; it’s about what he feeds his kids. “As a parent, I’m always trying to encourage my kids to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Food safety is paramount in ensuring that our children have healthy food, and we always want our consumers to have a good eating experience.” As Executive Vice President of Sales at EuroFresh, he wants to deliver only the most flavorful and safest tomatoes and cucumbers to his customers.

EuroFresh has pioneered a system called EnviroLock in their 318 acres of greenhouses in Arizona. The environment allows for temperature control, and more importantly, risk factor control. “Certified SafeTM is a big statement to make, but we’ve gone the extra mile to live up to that,” Mark explained. “We completed our SQF certification over the past two years and use third party validation certification on all of our products to support our food safety efforts. We have to walk the walk and talk the talk at the same time.” The EnviroLock system has a number of safeguards against contamination: the employees wear company provided color coded work suits depending on their task, which are provided by the company, since the greenhouses are a closed structure and sanitary standards are high.

“Honestly, It is my hope that our industry takes a stand and self-implement best practices before the government lays down unreasonable expectations,” he noted. That’s why Mark is a regular attendee at United’s Washington Public Policy Conference. “I really believe that’s a tremendous help for a group of shippers and growers to band together to wrestle the DC snake pit and to go out there and flex our muscles. Agriculture is the backbone of the United States and it’s important for our country to be able to produce our own safe food.”

This dedication to food safety and continued involvement in United events that advance the cause, make Mark an example of the thousands of industry leaders who are members of United Fresh and are working together towards a stronger industry. He is the latest in a series of members to be profiled and featured on our homepage. If you know Mark, you know United.

To read more about Mark’s industry involvement and his work at EuroFresh, continue reading his profile here. For perspectives from other industry leaders, click here.


Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2013 Supporters

The Chairman's Roundtable provides extra support for programs in government relations, food safety, nutrition policy and other areas to help grow the produce industry. We are pleased to recognize the following companies who have committed to the 2013 Chairman’s Roundtable:

  • Vincent B. Zaninovich, Richgrove, CA
  • Vision Produce Companies, Los Angeles, CA

The Chairman's Roundtable is an opportunity for United Fresh member companies to contribute above and beyond their basic dues. Roundtable members are industry leaders who set the pace in building United Fresh's strength in areas that do not generate their own revenue. Members of Chairman's Roundtable enjoy special recognition throughout the year for their support.

For more information on the Chairman’s Roundtable, please contact Vice President of Membership & Marketing Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.

New Member Welcome
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Each week, United Fresh welcomes its newest partners in building a stronger produce industry.

  • General Produce, Inc., Forest Park, GA
  • TransWest International, Fontana, CA
  • Vision Produce Companies, Los Angeles, CA

United Fresh thanks all current members for their dedication to the association and the produce industry. Please let us know whenever we can be of service to you.  For more details about the benefits of membership, please contact Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.

Upcoming United Fresh Events

day plannerJoin us for events designed to grow your business:

United Fresh 2013 
May 14-16, 2013, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA

Produce Inspection Training Program
June 3-7, USDA Training Center, Fredericksburg, VA