Malena Produce Inc. is dramatically increasing its tomato and vegetable offerings this fall. To manage the growth the firm has hired produce industry veteran, Jim Cathey.
Gonzalo Avila, chief executive officer of Malena, based in Rio Rico, AZ, told The Produce News on July 24 that the company plans to double its product volume, beginning this October.
Malena’s focus will be on five categories: tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, squash and peppers.
Malena will see a major increase in its Roma and round tomato volume.
Euro-cucumbers, mini-cukes and American slicer cucumbers will also increase for Malena in the very near future.
Malena will increase its organic eggplant offering “and our conventional eggplant volume will be up as well,” Avila said.
The firm will have steady volume on green bells, red elongated bells and beans with potential slight increases on Italian, yellow and grey squash.
“I am very excited to bring Jim on,” Avila said. “He has 49 years of experience in our industry.”
Avila emphasized the word manager when he said he was looking for a sales manager to oversee the Malena staff through the great increase in volume.
Avila noted that Cathey is well versed with marketing tomatoes — as well as all the products being offered by Malena.
“I really trust Jim. I’ve known him a long time. He knows the growers and customers. He’s been on all sides of this business — buying and selling. He has a broad range of past experiences. I am very excited that he is on our staff,” said Avila.