Longtime retail and wholesale produce executive Jeff Patterson is Global Organic Specialty Source Inc.’s new director of sales and business development.

Global Organic Specialty hires sales directorPatterson plans to begin working for the Sarasota, Fla.-based organic produce wholesaler at the Feb. 28-March 2 Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure retail and foodservice conference and exposition in Orlando, Fla.

He possesses more than 30 years of produce experience heading retail produce departments and serving in leadership positions with the Produce Marketing Association.

“For me, this is a perfect fit and a growth opportunity with a great company that’s well-positioned in the Southeast,” Patterson said. “You see conventional retailers expanding their SKUs (stock-keeping units) and giving it more linear square footage. I would doubt if there are any retail companies not having an organic initiative in the next few years to grow that category and customer base. Organics have been around for years but are finally coming into their own, if you will.”

Through the new position, Patterson plans to help expand sales for the company that receives organic produce from more than 140 farms throughout the world and distributes to retail chains, restaurants, buying clubs and cooperatives, resorts and other customers through a new 85,000-square-foot distribution center in the Tampa Bay region.

Global Organic Specialty hires sales directorPatterson was the national director of produce and floral for the Nash-Finch Co., Minneapolis, vice president of produce for Minyard Food Stores Inc., Carrollton, Texas, and as vice president of produce, expanded produce offerings at BJ’s Wholesale Club, Westborough, Mass.

Patterson served on the Newark, Del.-based PMA’s board of directors, was on its retail board, its Fresh Summit expo chairman, headed the organization’s technical council and led the industry’s Produce Electronic Identification board.

“The organic industry has shown double-digit growth over the last year as people become more aware and concerned about their food sources and health,” Mitch Blumenthal, Global Organic Specialty Source’s president, said in a news release. “We are excited to have Jeff join the team to assist in achieving our continued growth and success.”