Church Bros. names food safety V.P.

Salinas, Calif.-based Church Bros. LLC has named Courtney Parker vice president of food safety and regulatory affairs.

She is based out of the True Leaf Farms processing center in San Juan Bautista, Calif. Church Bros. is the sales and marketing arm of True Leaf Farms.

It’s a newly created position. Parker previously managed global food safety and North American regulatory programs for Fresh Express, a subsidiary of Chiquita Brands International. She started at Fresh Express in 2005.

Parker has served on the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement technical council; United Fresh food safety and technology council; and the Produce Manufacturing Association’s technical council.

“It’s a hire to broaden our management and our overall efforts in food safety,” said Ernst Van Eeghen, director of marketing and product development at Church Bros.. “With her background, Courtney gives us tremendous credibility on the food safety side.”

Duda to bring back limited red celery

Duda Farm Fresh Foods, which ended retail test marketing of its red celery in May due to inconsistent color, plans to bring it back in limited supply early next year.

“We’ll be back commercially in January,” said Sammy Duda, vice president.

“We took some time to define and refine what areas and growing practices were ideal to maximize color and consistency and feel we made a lot of progress,” he said. “We’re still evaluating ideal slots for transplant and harvest. In early January we’ll have small quantities of production.”

Duda Farm Fresh Foods’ red celery is grown only in California. It was introduced to the trade at the Produce Marketing Association convention in October 2010.

RedLine Solutions offers PTI symposium

RedLine Solutions has scheduled a Produce Traceability Initiative symposium for April 26 at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas.

The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It ends with a one-hour panel discussion among grower-shippers. Cost is $35, or $25 each for two people.

Topics include PTI field compliance. Speakers are RedLine’s chief executive officer Todd Baggett; Gary Fleming, vice president of strategic services; and Chris Davis, chief operating officer.

“We’re talking about how you translate PTI into a set of tools to be compliant in the field,” Davis said. “It’s for lettuce, broccoli, berries; any field-packed product.

“A couple of major grower-shippers are really looking at this season in Salinas as the time they’re going to become compliant across the board.”

It’s part of a nationwide series. Events are scheduled May 24 in Delano, Calif.; June 5 in Ellensburg, Wash.; and the week of July 11 in McAllen, Texas. Other cities are expected to be added.

Online registration is at

Uesugi Farms adds sales assistant

Former shipping clerk Kaidi Pennington is starting her first full year as a sales assistant for Gilroy, Calif.-based Uesugi Farms.

“She was already working for us and we promoted her to an assistant position,” said Pete Aiello, co-owner.

“The California season is so intense it’s tough for our two sales guys to keep up and still handle all their administrative tasks,” Aiello said.

Pennington did her first sales work for Uesugi last fall.