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Advocate of the Year Award

The United Fresh Produce Industry Advocate of the Year Award, given out at The United Fresh Washington Conference pays special recognition to one United Fresh member a year that serves as an advocate for the entire produce industry. Honorees are leading companies and associations that make an impact and drive the industry forward.

Traverse City, Mich.-based North Bay Produce was recognized with the 2018 United Fresh Produce Industry Advocate of the Year Award on September 26 at the annual United Fresh Washington Conference.

The winner is selected by the United Fresh Executive Committee using the following criteria:

  • A member in good standing of the United Fresh Produce Association.
  • Demonstration of outstanding support for public policy advocacy through engagement with federal legislative, regulatory and other government officials.
  • Diligent work on federal policy objectives to advance the fresh produce industry.
  • Active involvement with produce industry political initiatives such as the Washington Conference, Grassroots Action Network and United FreshPAC.

2018 Winner: North Bay Produce

The United Fresh Produce Association honored North Bay Produce as the Produce Industry Advocate of the Year during the 2018 Washington Conference. “They have always brought a team to this conference, and anytime we have a fly-in to Washington, D.C., or ask for assistance, they are always there,” CEO and President Tom Stenzel said.

North Bay Produce has been a leader at the state and national level for many years, building relationships with elected leaders. Mark Girardin, past president of North Bay, is a highly engaged member of the United Fresh Government Relations Council and also is on the executive committee of the United Fresh board of directors

North Bay Produce, Inc. is an international, grower-owned, year-round, fresh produce marketing and distribution cooperative, headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan. Wilderness Fresh Produce was established in 1984 as a division of Cherry Central Cooperative, Inc. to market fresh Michigan apples, asparagus, and prune plums for several of its members. In order to meet growing retail demand for year-round fresh produce, the company began importing product from Latin America in the late 1980s to expand its existing supply base. Due to the success of these programs, Wilderness Fresh and its Latin American partners formed North Bay Produce, Inc. in 1991. Since that time, North Bay Produce has grown considerably to become one of the market leaders in each of our core commodities.

Past Winners2002-2016

2017 – Baldor Specialty Foods, Inc.
2016 – Caito Foods Service, Inc.
2015 – Frey Farms
2014 – Wonderful Citrus
2013 – Del Monte Fresh
2012 – Four Seasons Family of Companies
2011 – Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association; National Watermelon Association
2010 – C.H.Robinson Wordwide, Inc.
2009 – PRO*ACT
2008 – Walter P. Rawl & Sons
2007 – New York Apple Association, Inc.
2006 – Sunkist Growers, Inc.
2005 – L & M Companies
2004 – Produce for Better Health Foundation
2003 – Tanimura & Antle
2002 – Capital City Fruit Company, Inc.






For more information about the Produce Industry Advocate of the Year Award, contact Angela Tiwari, Director, Grassroots and Political Action, at 202.303.3416.