BC Tree Fruits Ltd. hires chief executive officer

BC Tree Fruits Ltd., Kelowna, British Columbia, has a new chief executive officer.

The Okanagan Tree Fruit Cooperative selected Allen Tyabji to take over the position, welcoming him back to BC Tree Fruits.

Tyabji began with the organization in 1985, where he held various positions. He was appointed chief executive officer in 2008, but left shortly after to pursue other ventures, according to a news release.

The change took place Nov. 1 and should not have many immediate effects as the apple season moves on this year, marketing manager Chris Pollock said.


BelleHarvest Sales adds sorter, bagging system

BelleHarvest Sales Inc., Belding, Mich., continues to upgrade its facilities and technology, president Mike Rothwell said.

“We put in a new sorter, and last year we added a single-lane bagging system,” he said.

This year, the company plans to build more controlled-atmosphere storage.

“We’re going to build six new CA rooms, increasing our storage capacity by 20%,” Rothwell said.

The rooms should ready by the fall of 2013, he said.


Crunch Pak adds products to value-added line

Crunch Pak, Cashmere, Wash., released several new products in 2012, all with an emphasis on saving consumers time and money.

The company released FlavorZ, sliced apples infused with natural flavorings, and Salad Kitz, available in two versions, including a Sweet and Creamy Tropical Salad variety that includes diced sweet and tart apples, said Tony Freytag, senior vice president of sales and marketing.

The products are designed to meet the needs of consumers who want products that can be kept in the refrigerator without needing an additional container for storage, or “grab-and-go” products, Freytag said.

Also this year, Crunch Pak expanded its plant in Washington state by 38,000 square feet and partnered with two East Coast production facilities.

“We are excited about the efficiencies and new opportunities that the plant expansion and increased capacity on the East Coast will afford,” Freytag said.


Domex Superfresh Growers opens plant in Yakima

Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, Wash., began packing at a new facility in Yakima in November.

The addition comes on the heels of a new packing facility that opened in September 2011 in Selah, Wash., as well as other improvements and updates to various Superfresh facilities.

“We have been very busy making capital improvements in our facilities in order to efficiently run additional volumes while maintaining the high quality of the fruit during the packing process,” vice of president of marketing Howard Nager said.


Fowler Bros. diversifies with new tree plantings

Fowler Bros. Inc., Wolcott, N.Y., planted about 150 acres of trees this fall.

The company uses a rotation system to replace aging trees and plants about 100 acres each year in new orchards.

The new trees are a combination of varieties and should bear enough fruit to hit markets by 2014, with full production beginning two years after that, said Lee Peters, vice president of sales and marketing.


Hess Bros. Fruit Co. adds trio of partners

Jerry Hess, former secretary of Hess Bros. Fruit Co., Leona, Pa., retired at the end of November and three new partners are now on board.

Ryan Hess, son of Jerry Hess, Andrew Figart and Zach King stepped into their new roles as partners on Nov. 29, according to president Fred Hess.

Ryan Hess, fruit procurement and grower relations; Figart, sales and marketing; and King, human resources and assistant plant manager, previously were with the company.


North Bay Produce opens facility at airport

North Bay Produce Inc., Traverse City, Mich., opened a new facility in Mascoutah, Ill., this fall.

The facility is located inside the Mid America Airport, giving the company its own terminal for flights to be brought right to the door, said Ken Korson, sales and marketing.

Korson said this year didn’t see much apple activity because of the short crop but he hopes next year will provide the company the opportunity to export apples from its new facility.


Kwik Lok notices more sales of printer to apple packers

Yakima, Wash.-based Kwik Lok’s 901C printer is seeing an uptick of sales in the apple category.

“Since it was released, we’ve seen one large order for 16 machines, and another for eight just came in. That’s something we haven’t seen in the past for apples,” said Bruce Cox, regional sales manager.

The inkjet printer, released in August, allows companies to add logos or traceability information to their packaging and can include the product’s variety and harvest date.

Cox looks after customers in the Northwest, but said he expects to see sales pick up for apple suppliers on the East Coast next year after they recover from this year’s off season.

“We’re seeing apple folks jump in on this now where we hadn’t before. This printer seems to make sense for them now,” he said.


Rainier Fruit hires veteran for sales and marketing

Rainier Fruit Co., Yakima, Wash., hired Andy Tudor to its sales and marketing department in late November.

Tudor comes to Rainier with 25 years of sales and marketing experience in Washington apples, according to a news release.

“Andy Tudor is a welcome addition to our team, and I’m looking forward to working with him,” director of marketing Suzanne Wolter said.

The company also introduced “Max Line” apple packing technology in October.

“The Max line reduces our bin to box time a full 24 hours, allowing us to more efficiently and expeditiously respond to consumer packaging requests,” Wolter said.


Sage Fruit promotes staff to social media director

Yakima, Wash.-based Sage Fruit Co., has a new social media director.

Kaci Komstadius, previously with sales support, stepped into the new role in September.

According to Chuck Sinks, president of sales and marketing, Komstadius will focus on building out the company’s entire social media network, including running some contests with the upcoming Biggest Loser promotion. She also will work with schools and retailers on other promotions to help increase interaction with consumers.


Stemilt Growers hires artist to manage promotions

Stemilt Growers, Wenatchee, Wash., hired Nick Shamley as promotion manager. 

Shamley will be responsible for creating promotional materials and programs to help sell fruit and increase consumption, vice president of marketing Roger Pepperl said.

Shamley, an artist who trained at the Seattle Art Institute, began his role this summer.

He previously worked for a promotion company that served the produce industry, Pepperl said.