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United Fresh to Fete Rick & Tonya Antle With Lifetime Achievement Award

Rick and Tonya Antle will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by United Fresh Produce Association at its 2016 Produce Legends Dinner during the United Fresh Midwinter Leadership Forum, held Jan. 12-14, at the La Quinta Resort and Club, in La Quinta, Calif.

“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 Co. 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."

Stenzel continued: "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, Jan. 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, Calif., since its inception in 1982 and CEO 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, Tenn. 

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, Calif. 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.

A graduate of the University of California at Irvine, Tonya Antle formerly served as VP of sales at Earthbound Farm for 13 years. 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 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.

More information for all United Fresh Midwinter events can be found here.

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