Nov 7, 2022
USDA appoints fruit, vegetable industry advisory committee members

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has appointed 25 industry representatives to serve on the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee.

The reappointed and newly appointed members will serve two-year terms beginning immediately and ending in October 2024.

USDA logoNew members who are brokers, distributors, wholesalers, importers or exporters:

  • Alyssa Melendez, operations and supply chain manager for Burlap and Barrel: Single Origin Spices;
  • Angel Santiago Colon, CEO of Caribbean Produce Exchange;
  • David Einstandig, senior vice president and general counsel for Mastronardi Produce – USA Inc.;
  • Isabel Freeland, vice president, administrative officer and chief financial officer for Coast Citrus Distributors; and
  • Jorge Vazquez, president and CEO of Latin Specialties LLC.

New industry and trade association members are:

  • Donna Garren, vice president of science and policy for the American Frozen Food Institute; and
  • Kay Swartz Rentzel, consultant for the National Peach Council, the U.S. Sweet Potato Council and the American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute.

New members from farmers markets, food hubs, retailers or Food Service operations are:

  • David Van Eeckhout, farm program director for The Good Acre;
  • Haven Baker, co-founder and chief business officer at Pairwise;
  • Jenifer DeAtley, programs and strategy director for Sustainable Food Center;
  • Nathan Pumplin, president and CEO of Norfolk Healthy Produce Inc.;
  • Rebecca Serratos, vendor development coordinator for Prescott Farmers Market;
  • Susan Sutphin, founder and senior advisor at Sutphin Tahoe Food Hub; and
  • Anthony Mirisciotta, general manager of GrowFood Carolina

New members representing farm organizations, growers, producers and shippers are:

  • Amy Baker, senior director of quality and regulatory compliance management for Peterson Farms;
  • Bruce Frasier, president of Dixondale Farms Inc.;
  • Christopher Ciruli, chief operating officer of Ciruli Brothers LLC;
  • Darwin Inman, vice president of sales and marketing for the Horizon Nut Company LLC;
  • James Benson, sales director of Hronis Inc;.
  • Michael Briano, vice president of sales and marketing for Harris Woolf California Almonds;
  • Morris Hodges, owner and farm manager of Morris Watermelon Farm LLC;
  • Reginald Marshall, owner of Reggies Veggies; and
  • Andrew Garcia, East Coast sales manager for Altar Produce.

Re-appointed members are:

  • Karla J. Stockli, CEO of the California Fig Advisory Board (industry/trade association); and
  • Julie Masser Ballay, vice president and chief financial officer of, Sterman Masser Inc. (farm organization/grower/producer/shipper).

Originally chartered in 2001, the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee advises the secretary of agriculture on issues affecting the fruit and vegetable industry. Committee members represent organic and non-organic growers, shippers, wholesalers, retailers, industry trade associations, importers, processors, foodservice suppliers, food brokers, state departments of agriculture and farmers markets; and represent local, regional and national levels. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) ensures the committee is administered according to the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

More information about the committee is available on the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee page on the AMS website.


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