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2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners to be Honored at Midwinter Leadership Forum

Nov 02, 2015


WASHINGTON D.C. (November 2, 2015) – The United Fresh Produce Association will honor Rick & Tonya Antle with its Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Produce Legends Dinner during the United Fresh Midwinter Leadership Forum, January 12-14, at the La Quinta Resort and Club, in La Quinta, CA.

“When you think of true produce industry icons, both Rick and Tonya Antle are at the top of that list,” said Brian Kocher, COO of Castellini Company and Chairman of the United Fresh Board of Directors. “Both Rick and Tonya each have had tremendous careers in their own right, not only advancing their own companies, but serving as leaders to move the produce industry forward.” 

The United Fresh Midwinter Leadership Forum brings together hundreds of the association’s volunteer leaders for council and board meetings, the annual United Fresh Start Foundation golf tournament and the Produce Legends Dinner honoring individuals for their lifetime achievement in the produce industry.  

“We are so excited to be honoring Rick and Tonya this year,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “This is the first time we’ve honored two individuals together, and I can’t think of another couple who so fully complement one another in their contributions to the fresh produce industry. From Tonya’s spearheading the growth of the organic produce sector to Rick’s constant innovation at Tanimura & Antle, both of our honorees truly deserve this recognition.” The Antles join a distinguished group of past honorees including Mike Cavallero, Joe Procacci, Frieda Rapoport Caplan, Reggie Griffin and Bob Grimm.

The 2016 Produce Legends Dinner will take place on Tuesday, January 12, following the Foundation golf tournament. All proceeds from the golf tournament and Legends dinner support the United Fresh Start Foundation’s mission to increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables. “Tickets for the dinner, golf tournament, and sponsorships are now available, and we invite friends throughout the produce industry to join us in honoring Rick and Tonya,” Stenzel said. 

Rick Antle has been President and Principal of Tanimura & Antle, Inc. (T&A), in Salinas, CA since its inception in 1982 and Chief Executive Officer since 2003. T&A today grows a full line of leafy vegetables on more than 35,000 acres in California and Arizona. The company also owns and operates a state-of-the-art sustainable hydroponic greenhouse producing leafy greens in Livingston, TN.  

He is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and was honored by being named its distinguished alumni for the School of Agriculture. He was recognized by the Salinas Chamber of Commerce as its outstanding young farmer, and has served in many volunteer roles throughout his career, including Chairman of the Iceberg Lettuce Research Board, Chairman of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency and as a member of the United Fresh Board of Directors. He is also the 2005 recipient of The Packer’s Produce Man of the Year Award.  

Tonya Antle has been a driving force in the farming and produce industry for more than 30 years since growing up on her family’s table grape and citrus farm in Delano, CA. She is recognized as a top spokesperson and true trailblazer for the organic produce segment, helping to propel organic produce from the fringe to mainstream mass-market retailing.

Tonya is a graduate of the University of California at Irvine, and held the position of Vice President of Organic Sales for over 13 years at Earthbound Farm. During her tenure, she was an instrumental leader in building the brand to its half billion-dollar sales level that it enjoys today. Tonya is a committed to mentoring young women in the industry, and is a past recipient of United Fresh’s Women in Produce achievement award.  In 2010, she joined the Ag Business Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, as a guest lecturer in fruit and vegetable marketing, and has served the university as a member of the President’s Council. She currently serves on the board of the Community Foundation for Monterey County.

Rick and Tonya reside in Carmel, CA, and have three sons, one daughter and a daughter-in-law.

The 2016 United Fresh Start Foundation Golf Tournament will be played at the Mountain Course at the La Quinta Resort. Soaring peaks and challenging play elevate the Palm Springs golf experience. Famous for its unique Pete Dye design, playability and stunning visuals, this exciting and challenging course nestled at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains features pot bunkers and rock formations, as well as incredible elevations of tee boxes and well-bunkered greens. Ascending to the top of the elevated tee box of the signature 16th enables you to fully appreciate the majesty of this course, named one of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 You Can Play.

Registration for all events is available online. For questions about the event, contact Sophie Drayton at 202.303.3413. For questions about the United Fresh Start Foundation Golf Tournament, contact Andrew Marshall at 202.303.3407.


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