For a volunteer organization, the Houston Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association has ambitious goals.
And it's found a dedicated leader in Dave Anderson to help the association, made up of wholesalers, retailers, distributors, suppliers and marketers, unite to achieve those goals.
During Anderson’s 2-year term as president, which ends in February, the association planned to double its annual Gift of Produce to the Houston Food Bank through a new consumer and retail campaign and raise enough money to donate 20 salad bars to Houston Schools through the Salad Bar in Every School program.
The association organized a charity golf tournament in May to raise money for the effort and announced a pledge of 20 salad bars instead of the three it originally had planned.
Tom Stenzel, president of the United Fresh Produce Association, Washington, D.C., praised the group’s effort, the first on this scale by a regional association.
“I’ve always been really impressed with the HFFVA and their commitment to the food bank and the community overall,” Stenzel said. “Dave’s leadership in reaching out to the Houston schools and raising money for salad bars continues in that strong tradition.”
Craig Slate, director of retail sales for Houston-based IFCO Systems said Anderson has helped provide a new vision for the HFFVA.
“Over the past year, he committed a tremendous amount of time and effort to the organization, and, best of all, his passion to see the HFFVA organization excel is genuine,” Slate said.
Anderson’s efforts were in addition to his day job as principal of New Braunfels, Texas-based Anderson Food Sales and Marketing LLC, which heads marketing for the Bard, Calif.-based Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers Association, retail marketing for the Irvine-based California Avocado Commission and marketing and merchandising for Rivermaid Trading Co., Lodi, Calif.
Anderson, 49, describes himself as a relative newcomer to the produce industry, having started as a regional representative for the California Pear Advisory Board and the California Cherry Advisory Board 12 years ago. At the urging of colleagues, he got involved at the local level.
“Jeannetta Davis (formerly of the California Tree Fruit Agreement) introduced me to the Houston Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association,” he said. “She was an amazing woman who challenged me to get involved and give back and recognize the value of the association.”
It’s also an exciting time for Anderson, as marketing director for the Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers Association. The association launched an aggressive marketing campaign and a new “Natural Delights” brand image.
“We have a tremendous amount of acreage that’s been planted,” he said. “We want to get in front of that volume and really develop a following.”
The group already has 18,000 fans on Facebook before its new website and materials hit the consumer market in mid-October.