(Oct. 19) ANAHEIM, Calif. — Carl Fields, a man who played a vital role in the development of products, marketing and promotions at the country’s largest mushroom grower-shipper, was recognized Oct. 18 as The Packer’s 2004 Produce Marketer For All Seasons.

Fields died April 16 of a heart attack at age 52.

Charlean Fields, his wife, accepted the award on his behalf during Fresh Summit 2004. She said that in the past two years, her husband had pondered what kind of legacy he would leave behind.

At the lunch session, he was remembered for his influence at a company where, during his tenure, annual mushroom volumes increased from 10 million pounds to 200 million.

In addition, Fields helped lead the growth in brown and portabella mushrooms. He developed concepts in category management and increased consumer awareness, said award presenter Robb Bertels, vice president of Vance Publishing Corp. and publisher of The Packer.

But achievements within Fields’ industry and as the vice president of marketing for Monterey Mushrooms Inc., Watsonville, marked only a glimpse into a list of accolades.

“The seventh of eight children, Carl was known as intelligent, compassionate, devoted and dedicated,” Bertels said. “He was generous with his time and talent.

“He gave in quiet ways, mentoring and helping scores of young students and keeping an eye out for elderly neighbors.”

On a personal and professional level, Fields excelled in all of his roles, said Shah Kazemi, president of chief executive officer of Monterey Mushrooms. Kazemi said the man he’d known as a friend and colleague for 25 years was a big-hearted and intelligent motivator, teacher and marketer.

BROADLY INVOLVED

During his career, Fields served on PMA’s board of directors and foodservice board, and he was appointed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fruit & Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee.

He also served on the boards of the Mushroom Council and Produce for Better Health Foundation, Wilmington, Del.

At Monterey Mushrooms, where he started in 1980, Fields helped lead the development of the Clean N Ready line of packaged mushrooms, which was first marketed in 2001.

In the same year, Fields was one of four people appointed to administer the Dublin-based Mushroom Council’s national promotion and research program.

Fields earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and social sciences from the University of California-Irvine, of which he was an active supporter. He also earned a master’s degree in management from Yale University.

Charlean Fields said he would never have expected to be recognized with the All Seasons award.

“I know that receiving such an honor from his peers would mean so very much to him,” she said.

Carl Fields honored as Marketer for All Seasons
FIELDs: Marketer for All Seasons.