American Produce expands value-added line
American Fruit & Produce Corp., Opa Locka, Fla., has expanded its line of packaged produce.

American enlarged its My Fresh Garden line of fruits and vegetables it repacks into bags and clamshells from 65 to 110 offerings, said Marshall Glantz, director of business development, exports and executive director.

The distributor, which introduced the line in 2008, started with 40 items and packs a complete line of vegetables and stone fruit into a variety of bags and clamshells.

“My Fresh Garden packaging has grown tremendously,” Glantz said.

American has also enlarged its fleet of refrigerated trucks and has started its own trucking division.

The wholesaler added eight tractor-trailers and six straight jobs for local distribution.

The additions bring American’s fleet to 88, Glantz said.

The separate trucking division sends trucks all over the U.S. to pick up produce.

American started its trucking division in early fall.

Produce Connection promotes worker
John Fishbein has been promoted to night shift manager at the Produce Connection Inc., Miami.

Fishbein, son of Bruce Fishbein, a Produce Connection partner, began working in the business at 16 years of age by rolling a handcart and working his way up to his new position, said Bruce Fishbein.

Bruce Fishbein said his son has worked well and has cut the distributor’s error rate.

“I really think he has produce in his blood, so I’m sorry and feel bad for him,” Bruce Fishbein said.

“He loves this business because it’s a rough business.”

Tampa market fills manager role
Peter Filippello has become general manager of the Tampa Wholesale Produce Market Inc., Tampa, Fla.

Filippello stepped into the manage role after previous manager Tom Joseph passed away in January 2010.

Filippello, who began his role in early January 2010, had been retired for 10 years from running his family business, Filippello Bros. Inc., a longtime fixture on the wholesale market.

Louis Garcia III, salesman and buyer for Crews & Garcia Inc., Tampa, said Filippello has done well for originally joining as an interim manager.

“I think he’s done a really good job for coming in here (on a) spur of the moment decision after Tom Joseph’s death,” Garcia said.

“He got things going right away and is getting a lot of things done.”

Filippello said the market is making general improvements such as remodeling wholesaler units and conducting maintenance such as repaving the parking lot.

Tubby Crews passes away
W.B. “Tubby” Crews, a longtime produce wholesaler on the Tampa Wholesale Produce Market, died Nov. 11. He was 93.

Crews, who helped found Crews & Garcia Inc. in 1961 with the late Andreas Garcia, began buying fruits and vegetables in North Carolina and selling them on the Tampa terminal market in the 1930s.

The two imported Cuban produce until the late 1950s.

Crews came into the office every day until about six months ago, said Louis Garcia III, salesman.

Crews is survived by his wife, Mary Jo; daughters Patsey Crews, Terry Crews and Gail Militello; and a stepdaughter and several grandchildren.

By Eastern Editor Doug Ohlemeier