(Oct. 3) Michael Stevens, senior director of retail sales for Natural Selection Foods LLC, San Juan Bautista, Calif., promoters of the Earthbound Farm label, died on Sept. 26. He was 36.

“Mike’s loss leaves a huge hole in our hearts. He was a tremendous, positive force in our world and brought his big heart, his sense of humor, and intelligence to everything he did, even during the most difficult times,” vice president of organic sales Tonya Antle said in an e-mail. “He made us all better as a team and as individuals. We are so grateful to have had Mike in our lives as a colleague and a friend, and we are devastated by his death. We will treasure our memories and his spirit will carry on in our work every day.”

A veteran of the produce industry since high school, he worked for Tanimura & Antle Fresh Foods Inc., Salinas, Calif., and Capurro Marketing LLC, Moss Landing, Calif., prior to joining Natural Selection Foods/Earthbound Farm in the commodity management group in 2002, director of communications Samantha Cabaluna said.

He steadily advanced in his time with Natural Selection Foods/Earthbound Farm, serving as commodity manager for organic produce, senior commodity manager and sales director, before assuming the role of senior director of retail sales, Cabaluna said.

Stevens is survived by his wife, Claudia; his sister, Melissa; and his father, Danny. His mother, Donna Sue (Daniel) Stevens, preceded him in death in 1996.

Natural Selection Foods retail sales director dies