(Sept. 11) VENTURA, Calif. — Fresh Directions International will triple the volume of avocados it brings in from the Dominican Republic this year.

It also starts the Dominican season with two new employees handling marketing duties.

Jan Garrett joined Fresh Directions as director of marketing in early August. She’s been in the produce industry for 20 years, serving with the California Avocado Commission, the Washington Apple Commission and Frieda’s. Most recently, she worked for the Washington State Fruit Commission, handling retail promotions for Northwest Cherry Growers.

Joe Dugo started as a key account manager on the East Coast Aug. 25. He came to Fresh Directions from Dole Fresh Vegetables, where he was Eastern regional sales manager. In his new position, he will work out of Flemington, N.J.

The company has 2,000 acres of maturing hass avocado trees in the Dominican Republic, said Mike Browne, president. This year Fresh Directions will bring in 10 million pounds of product, more than three times last year’s total of 3.2 million, Browne said.

About 60% of that volume is already under contract, mainly to foodservice, Browne said.

Fresh Directions operates two avocado ranches in the Dominican Republic, one of 400 acres and another of 1,600 acres that is one of the largest ranches in the Northern Hemisphere, Browne said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking comments on a proposal to extend the season and the allowed destinations for Mexican avocados, which are currently admitted from Oct. 15 to April 15 into 31 states.