(March 18, 10:59 a.m.) Southeast: Lewis Edney has returned to Homestead, Fla.-based Orrin H. Cope Produce Inc., as vice president, opening an office in Ty Ty, Ga.

Edney has worked for Orrin H Cope Produce for 30 years, 18 as vice president. He left about five years ago to join Flowers Bros. Produce, Ty Ty. He returned to Orrin H. Cope two months ago.

Midwest

Chris Sobczak has joined the sales department at Russet Potato Exchange, Bancroft Wis., as account manager. He has more than23 years experience in the produce industry.

Sobczak most recently worked the sales desk for Spud City Sales, Stevens Point, Wis. He has retail experience with Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart Stores Inc. in Plover, Wis., and at Milwaukee, Wis.-based Copps Corp. in Stevens Point.

To help increase its face time with customers in the Midwest and Southeastern states, Pharr, Texas-based London Fruit Inc. hired Jason Stros as a St. Louis-based salesman. He joined the company in late February and started the company’s office in St. Louis in early March.

Stros previously was in charge of national sales for St. Louis-based avocado shipper Monarch Growers. He said while his primary focus will be avocados, they provide an entry point for London Fruit’s other Mexican tropicals including pineapples, mangoes and limes.

Recognition

Colorful Harvest LLC garnered first place March 7 at the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City for best flat of strawberries.

Doug Ranno, Colorful Harvest’s chief operating officer and managing partner, said the company found out it won the award as they exhibited at the Southeastern Produce Council’s annual expo.

Ranno said the Salinas, Calif.-based company used the festival variety under the Green Giant Fresh label to win the contest, which had 12 entries from strawberry grower-shippers. Judging was based on taste, uniformity, size, shape and color.

The Monterey Bay chapter of the American Culinary Federation has named Mary Pagan its Chef of the Year. Pagan owns and founded the Culinary Center of Monterey in California. Pagan is also a consultant, recently working with Salinas-based Salyer American Fresh Foods for recipe development using the company’s colored cauliflower and romaine.

An award ceremony is planned for March 22.

The Washington Apple Education Foundation presented Wells Fargo bank a certificate of appreciation for the bank’s support of a farmworker education program.

The San Francisco-based banking chain has donated almost $20,000 to the Wenatchee-based education foundation’s Farmworker/Ag Worker Education Program since 2004, said Jennifer Witherbee, executive director of the foundation.

The program provides scholarships for college students, as well as grants to school and community groups that work with farmworker families.

Robert Wynn, coordinator of the Pierce’s disease control program for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, received the Albert G. Salter Memorial Award from the California Citrus Quality Council.

Wynn has worked for the department since 1970, starting as a seasonal inspector. He later worked as branch chief of the shipping point inspection branch, then as director of the division of inspection services, and then as director of plant and health pest prevention services in 1997.