SunnyRidge Farm Inc. has brought in an industry veteran to lead its strawberry sales efforts and is opening a new packing and distribution center.

The Winter Haven, Fla.-based berry grower-shipper, which entered the central Florida strawberry deal last fall, has added Sal Toscano, a 23-year agriculture industry veteran who has nearly two decades of berry industry sales, as product manager.

Toscano, who formerly worked as the sales manager for Grimes Produce Co. LLC, Plant City, Fla., will head SunnyRidge’s strawberry efforts, which include the construction of a new distribution center, according to a news release.

The new Plant City building, which features more than 51,000 square feet of distribution and storage space, will become the centerpiece of SunnyRidge’s strawberry program, according to the release. 

SunnyRidge also plans to use the building to support the receiving, cooling and shipping of its Florida blueberries and Mexican, Argentinean and Chilean berries.

“Its prime location offers easy access to key arteries and thoroughfares providing excellent distribution opportunities to our customers in the Southeast,” Keith Mixon, SunnyRidge’s president and chief executive officer, said in the news release. “In addition, within a 30-mile radius of our new facility, you can find almost 50% of Florida’s blueberry production and 80% of Florida’s strawberry production which fits nicely with SunnyRidge Farm’s five year growth strategy.”

Mixon in the release said Toscano’s position will be integral to the company’s continued growth.

SunnyRidge adds berry veteran and builds distribution center