2016 Schedule – Organic Produce Summit

2016 Program Schedule

The 2016 Organic Produce Summit offered a number of concurrent educational sessions and dynamic speakers. These engaging and informative discussions left attendees inspired and provided a fresh perspective when it comes to rethinking the important role organic produce plays in today’s grocery marketing environment.

“The Organic Produce Summit was a phenomenal event. I am going home so inspired by what I saw and heard. I can’t believe how many buyers we saw. I can’t wait to come back next year.”

Stephanie Cutaia, EarthFresh Farms

Wednesday – July 13, 2016

Registration and networking lounge opened


Opening Reception-Hyatt Regency, Monterey Ballroom

Sponsored by

Wholesum Harvest

Thursday – July 14, 2016

Breakfast and Registration, Hyatt Regency Conference Center – Lower Level

Sponsored by

Crosset Company

Breakout Sessions, Hyatt Regency Conference Center – Lower Level

Hosted by

Organic Trade Association

Session 1

Best Practices for Organic Produce Handling and Merchandising. 

Sponsored by


Explore the challenges and opportunities faced in offering consumers a consistent supply of organic produce and the role merchandising plays in building sales.

Location: Regency Conference Center – Lower Level – Spyglass

Moderator: Gwendolyn Ward, Senior Director Regulatory and Technical Affairs, Organic Trade Association (OTA)

Gwendolyn works on the development of policy strategy through regulatory engagement in the interest of OTA’s mission and its members.


Mark Carroll, Senior Director of Produce and Floral, Gelson’s Markets

Mark is the Senior Director of Produce and Floral for Gelson’s Markets in southern California for the last eight years. He is a veteran of the retail produce industry, working for many years in Texas with Randalls-Tom Thumb and Whole Foods Market

Jonathan Steffy, Director of Sales & Retail Services, Four Seasons Produce, Inc.

Jonathan works closely with all retail channels, including: independent retailers, chain supermarkets, natural foods stores, co-ops and online retailers to help drive organic produce sales across the East Coast.

Neil Cullen, Director Quality Control Management, Sprouts Markets

Neil has been in natural foods and organics formats since 1989, including Fresh Fields, Nature’s Heartland, Wild Oats and currently Sprouts Farmers Markets. At Sprouts, he has taken a lead role in the development of organics procurement programs with an emphasis on regional sourcing.


Session 2

Organic Produce Trends — Current drivers and what to watch. 

Sponsored by


This session will explore the market opportunities for producers and retailers, identify current trends driving the market, and look ahead to anticipate flavors and behaviors that will shape the market in years ahead.

Location: Regency Conference Center – Lower Level – Big Sur

Moderator:  Angela Jagiello , Associate Director of Conference and Product Development, OTA

Angela produces industry research and conferences, and runs a speaker’s bureau. During the past 15 years, Angela Jagiello has also served in marketing and public relations roles at leading companies in the organic industry.


Suzy Badaracco, Founder – Culinary Tides

Suzy, in addition to being a toxicologist, chef, and registered dietitian, has been trained in military intelligence, chaos theory, and predictive analysis techniques used by corporate and government bodies. Using these techniques she has been able to successfully predict and profile government, technology, adversary and ally, food, flavor, consumer, industry, and health trends. 

Andrew Mandzy, Director of Strategic Insights – Nielsen

Andrew helps clients assess how consumer macro trends directly impact their businesses, and helps them create strategies on how to win in today’s competitive landscape.  He also leads Nielsen’s Health & Wellness Center-of-Excellence, which focuses on understanding and answering the most critical health & wellness related questions.

Breakout Sessions, Hyatt Regency Conference Center – Lower Level

Hosted by 

Organic Trade Association

Session 3

Organic Produce Innovation: Next Generation, Next Geography. 

Sponsored by


Location: Regency Conference Center – Lower Level – Spyglass

With increased pressure to develop steady supply channels to meet the projected double digit growth of organic fresh produce heading into the next decade, three large producers discuss the challenges ahead—–and how production outside the US will continue to grow to meet the need.

Moderator: Nate Lewis, Senior Crop and Livestock Specialist, OTA

Nate provides staff support to OTA’s Farmer Advisory Council, on-the-ground outreach to OTA’s organic farmer membership community, and analysis of policy issues that affect organic producers.


Soren Bjorn, Executive Vice President – Driscoll’s

Soren leads the largest business unit for Driscoll’s and is responsible for all aspects of the business enterprise from the strategic planning process and to its financial success. He served as the company’s first senior vice president of international business and was responsible for oversight of Driscoll’s Europe, Middle East and Africa business, an Australia based joint venture and a new start-up venture in China.

Jerrett Stoffel, Vice President Operations – Taylor Farms

Jerrett oversees operations and procurement at Taylor Farms Retail West Coast operating companies.  He previously had responsibility for national organic raw material procurement of the $1 billion company.

Greg Holzman, Founder – Purity Organics

Greg founded Pacific Organics in 1994 and first started producing organic juices in 2004 before launching the Purity Organic juice line in 2009.


Session 4

E-Grocery and the Role of Organic Produce

Sponsored by






Location: Regency Conference Center – Lower Level – Big Sur

One of the fastest growing segments of retailer sales and growth, the booming direct-to consumer marketplace, is wrought with tremendous potential and pitfalls.   Explore the role organic fresh produce has in the exciting new distribution channel and what the future may hold.

Moderator: Kevin Coupe

Kevin is the “Content Guy” at MorningNewsBeat.com and the author of “Retail Rules!  52 Ways To Achieve Retail Success,” a guidebook for competing effectively and efficiently on Main Street.


Tony Stallone, Vice President Merchandising – Peapod

Tony has been with Peapod for 16 years and helped it grow into the largest internet grocer in America. Tony has a standing television segment on ABC 7 in Chicago and is an annual lecturer at Cornell’s Produce Executive Development Program.

Mike Burrington, Director Fulfillment Services – IdeoClick

Mike is Director of Fulfillment Services at IdeoClick, Inc.  Previously he was the Senior Vendor Manager of Fresh Produce & Floral at AmazonFresh.com.

Thaddeus Barsotti, Chief Farmer & co-CEO – Farm Fresh to You and Capay Organic

Thaddeus is co-CEO of Farm Fresh To You and Capay Organic with his brother, Freeman. He heads up farm management and is active in growing and maintaining over 40 types of fruit and vegetable crops on the company’s farm operations in Capay and Imperial and Ventura Counties.


Morning Break, Monterey Ballroom Patio

Sponsored by


Featured Keynote Speakers, Monterey Ballroom


Tonya Antle – Principal, Tanimura & Antle, Mistress of Ceremonies

Tonya Antle has been a driving force in the farming and produce industry for the past thirty plus years.  She is recognized as a top spokesperson and a true trailblazer for the organic produce segment, helping to propel organic produce from the fringe to mainstream mass-market retailing.


“State of the Organic Produce Industry”

Sponsored by: 


With Organic Fresh produce sales now topping $14 billion annually, Laura will provide insight into this double digit growth category and what lies ahead.

Laura Batcha – CEO, Organic Trade Association


Laura has 20 years of experience as a certified organic producer and handler, and more than 10 years of hands-on experience in the private sector of the organic industry.

Under her leadership, OTA has  established its Farmers Advisory Council to improve communication with organic producers, brought back Sector Councils to build community among groups of members, and developed OTA’s voice in Washington through Organic PAC.


“Inside Look at the Growing Organic Ingredient Market” 

Sponsored by: 


The organic fresh produce ingredient market offers outstanding opportunities for retailers and producers across the globe.  Gain insight to the challenges and potential of organic fresh produce as an ingredient in all varieties of foods.

Chad Hagen  – Vice President, SunOpta CPG


Chad has successfully built companies, brands, and developed global supply chains across the organic and natural products industry.   A passionate and trusted leader who blends an entrepreneurial spirit, diverse international experience, and a broad industry network into helping organizations develop clear strategies and achieving profitable and sustainable growth.


“Organic Juicing Revolution”  

Sponsored by: 

TO 4Clr Logo 2014-stacked V2 closer crop

The growth of organics is driven in part by upstart entrepreneurs willing to challenge conventional ideas.  Hear from one of the leading innovators in the organic community and his thoughts on the future of organics.

Doug Evans – CEO, Juicero

Doug Evans_Juice Glassv2

Doug Evans is the founder and CEO of Juicero. Prior to Juicero, Doug served as the CEO of Organic Avenue, where he helped establish the company as a leader in the organic juice and raw food marketplace. Doug has been living an exclusively plant-based lifestyle since 1999, and his personal mission is to improve the quality of human, animal and environmental health on the planet.




Featured Keynote Address


“Innovation and Growth Opportunities in Organics”  

Sponsored by: 


Mark Bittman – Author and former New York Times columnist

Mark Bittman

There is no one like Mark Bittman, whose core message—that food has the power to make or break not only our personal health but that of the planet—is increasingly accepted and broadcast widely. For The New York Times and all kinds of other publications, Bittman covers policy, agriculture, health, the environment and more, along, of course, with cooking and eating. His body of work spans all media with print and web columns, videos, interviews, TV appearances and shows. He’s a regular on the Today Show and has hosted four TV series, including Showtime’s Emmy Award-winning climate change documentary, Years of Living Dangerously.


Lunch – Hyatt Regency Conference Center – Lower Level

Sponsored by:

Earthbound Farm Organic

Exhibition floor open Hyatt Regency Conference Center


Happy Hour