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California Grape & Tree Fruit League Elects New Chairman, Honors Delano-based Farmer With Prestigious Mentor’s Award

Fresno, CA — The California Grape & Tree Fruit League (CGTFL) kicked off their new fiscal year earlier this week at their 76th Annual Meeting in Half Moon Bay.

The event featured the election of the new Board of Directors and Chairman of the Board, the honoring of a long-time Delano-based grape grower Marko B. Zaninovich with the prestigious Mentor’s Award and an industry workshop that addressed the demand side of produce.

The Board of Directors is made up of 50 men and women from operations located from as far south as Coachella Valley with fresh table grape vineyards, to as far north as Lake County with pear production. Ryan Zaninovich (V.B. Zaninovich & Sons, Inc.) took helm as Chairman of the Board of Directors after Steve Hash (Steve Hash Farms) completed his term as Chairman during the 2011/12 fiscal year. The organization’s officers serve for a one-year period and are selected by a committee of past Board Chairs. The full slate of officers includes:

CHAIR: Ryan Zaninovich (V.B. Zaninovich & Sons, Inc.) – Richgrove-based fresh grape shipper;

FIRST VICE CHAIR: David Jackson (Family Tree Farms) – Reedley-based tree fruit and berry shipper;

SECOND VICE CHAIR: Carol Chandler (Chandler Farms, LP) – Selma-based tree fruit grower; and

SECRETARY/TREASURER: Louis Pandol (Pandol Bros., Inc.) – Delano-based fresh grape shipper.

The four new members who have joined the Board of Directors are: Bill Byers, Fruit Patch Sales, LLC (Dinuba); Nick Dulcich, Sunlight International Marketing (Dinuba); Kevin Herman, The Specialty Crop Company (Madera); and Cliff Woolley, Munger Bros., LLC (Dinuba). The League’s Board meets on a quarterly basis to take action on regulatory and legislative issues at the state, federal and international level.

The League also honored Marko B. Zaninovich, owner of Delano-based Marko Zaninovich, Inc., with the prestigious Mentor’s Award. Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission, presented the award to Zaninovich. The Mentor’s Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the fresh grape, berry and tree fruit communities through their leadership in the industry. The Mentor’s Award was first awarded in 1966 to Mr. Martin Zaninovich of Jasmine Vineyards, Inc. An awardee is selected by the League’s Mentors’ Committee and a recipient is selected based on the following criteria: a trusted counselor or guide; a wise, loyal advisor; a tutor, coach, teacher; and a person who, through effort, discovery, innovation, dedication, and/or perseverance, has influenced the industry in a positive way.

Prior to the Mentor’s Award being presented during the Annual Meeting Membership Luncheon, what keeps retailers awake at night was discussed during the industry workshop, which was one of the highlights during the three-day event. Reggie Griffin, United Fresh Produce Association chairman and former vice president of produce and floral for Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co