(Sept. 2) VENTURA, Calif. — Mangoes, limes and other Latin American products are the specialty of a new company launched by a veteran of Fresh Directions International.

Jesus “Chuy” Loza started Freska Produce International LLC Aug. 30, just a couple of days after his last day at Fresh Directions. Freska, which is pronounced like the Spanish word for fresh, should move slightly more than 6.5 million cartons of mangoes and limes in its first year, Loza said.

Loza said the new company will work with some growers he worked with from Fresh Directions.

“I’ve been in the mango business for a while now,” Loza said Sept. 1. “It was time to go somewhere that I had equity in the deal. We started Monday with Brazilian product. We’ve been selling from day one.”

Freska will bring in mangoes from Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Nicaragua, as well as limes from Mexico. Loza said he plans to expand to carry other products.

Loza has spent 15 years in the produce business. He managed mango and lime operations at Fresh Directions for the past 5 years. He was a principal in Los Angeles-based El Tropico Inc., and he also handled international sales for five years at Oxnard-based Mission Produce Inc..
Loza said Freska will focus on retail and wholesale business, with foodservice business possibly coming later. The company will focus on providing year-round, consistent supplies.

Another Fresh Directions veteran has joined Freska. Gary Clevenger, who has been vice president of finance for Fresh Directions for the past 6½ years, initially will set up administrative and accounting functions for Freska. Eventually, he will transition into sales, Loza said.

For more information, call (805) 650-1040.