We are proud of the lasting relationships we’ve built with many of the best, most highly-skilled growers in California. We know you as California growers, ardent stewards of the land who take pride in the quality fruit you produce. We share your passion.
From the ranch to the market, we provide growers with cultural advice and guidance through harvest. As a global packer, we monitor the pulse of daily supply and demand, while servicing a worldwide customer base. We pride ourselves on superior grower interaction and service.
Most of our field representatives have been growers themselves – they get it! They have degrees in agriculture as well as training and certification from Mission University. The team is focused on advising how to increase your yields and ROI and provide year-round service of crop estimates for planning and harvest strategy.
Keith Barnard grew up in the avocado business and is invested in its continued expansion. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in Agricultural Business and joined Mission’s field department in 2006. Since then, Keith has held several leadership capacities in the company, most recently named the Vice President of Sourcing, North America. On a daily basis Keith interacts with growers, packers, exporters and importers from around the world. He knows that Mission’s success is based on enduring partnerships with growers. When Keith is not out in search of the world’s finest avocados, he is on the water, skiing or shooting hoops.
Gabe Filipe has been with Mission for more than 10 years, and has been involved in the avocado business his entire life. He grew up on a commercial avocado grove and values not only the people, but also the farm quality of life. He has a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Gabe has traveled to most of the major avocado growing regions in the world and has cultivated and developed an elite network of agronomic contacts. Gabe has worked tirelessly to develop some of the most technologically advanced avocado orchards in the state. He leads the California Field Team and Farm Management Unit with comprehensive and authoritative knowledge in avocado production.
Chris Dryden has been an integral part of Mission’s grower relation program for over 25 years. His knowledge is deeply rooted and is beneficial to many growers. Chris knows that growers are the heart and soul of our business. He has a Farm Management degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and a minor in Animal Science. A cowboy through and through, Chris enjoys team roping and all things equestrian. He continually gives back to the community through volunteer work with Ventura County Food Share and Ventura County Fairgrounds Foundation.
Albert Munoz is a long-time Mission employee. He is a dedicated member of the team and enjoys working with growers in the Southern California. As District Director in Temecula, Albert strives to build lasting partnerships that support Mission’s growers. Albert started his career in the Los Angeles produce market working with imported fruits from South America. When Albert isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his family, hiking and cycling.
Aimee Smith is Mission’s Field Marketing Manager. From her experience in nursery propagation of avocado and citrus trees, to her work in marketing, Aimee has a clear understanding of field to fork. She received her bachelor’s degree in agriculture Plant Science from California State University, Fresno, and an MBA from California Lutheran University. When she is not working or volunteering in the community, she enjoys the outdoors with her growing family.
Scott Scarborough’s career with Mission spans nearly 20 years. He has been a farmer all of his life. He has farmed avocados, multiple citrus varieties, pistachios, and a few other crop in between. Scott’s knowledge scales from large scale corporate and custom farming to family farming operations. Scott is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, with a degree in Fruit Industries. Scott’s passion for farming and expertise in cultural and harvesting practices make him a go-to resource for growers.
Kyler Zike is not only a Grower Relations Representative for Mission, but also an engineer. Kyler has expertise in water science and micro irrigation. He is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, with an agriculture systems management degree. Kyler works hand-in-hand with Mission growers on solutions for their ranches, irrigation efficiencies and stewardship of the land. Beyond the field, Kyler spends time on his family’s cattle ranch.
Connor Huser has been involved in agriculture systems all of his life. As a Bakersfield native, he worked in the San Joaquin Valley with a variety of commodities. From his involvement in row crops to livestock, and most recently tree crops, he has found his place with the super fruit, the avocado. Connor has experience working on farms and in packinghouses, as well as in wildlife management at a prominent range operation. He holds a degree in Ranch Management from Texas Christian University where he also minored in Energy Technology and Business. When Connor is away from the grove, he enjoys hunting, fishing and playing a round of golf.
Dale Sanders started his career at Mission in 2016 in the Sales Department. His background in the industry stems from the Salinas Valley, where he served as a produce inspector and in produce seed sales. His comprehensive understanding of avocado handling and sales coupled with his extended history in agriculture makes him a great contributor to the field department as a Grower Relations Representative. Dale graduated from California State University Channel Islands with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business. When Dale is not promoting California avocados, he is involved in the community through conservation efforts, or enjoying the outdoors: surfing, biking and skiing.
Field Transportation Manager, Rudy Duarte has been part of Mission’s team for over 33 years. His expertise in transportation and fleet management keeps our vehicles in top condition in order to service grower pick-up and delivery needs. Rudy organizes the field truck logistics for all California growing regions. Additionally, he has numerous trucking operator certifications. When harvest doesn’t demand his time, he is an outdoorsman and enjoys riding ATVs, biking and camping with his family.
Lily Gutierrez is Mission’s Grower Relations Administrator, where she supports Mission’s grower base and field staff. She provides the field staff with critical reports and information to help them deliver the highest level of service and expertise. Lily attended Ventura College where she studied Human Resources. Outside of Mission, Lily stays active by hiking and keeping up with her daughter.
Anna Haller is Mission’s Food Safety Administrator. Anna is a graduate from University of California, Davis, where she earned her degree in agriculture and Environmental Education. Her passion for food safety makes her a great fit for this important and growing role at Mission. Anna assists growers in acquiring GFSI certifications and provides up-to-date information on best practices in the field. In her spare time, she enjoys team roping and sailing.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety rule is now final, and the earliest compliance dates for some farms begin in 2018. The rule establishes, for the first time, science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption.
This program seeks to identify all potential sources of food contaminants that may exist on a farm. It is designed to give our growers all the tools they need to control and monitor any potential contamination sources commonly found on a farm. Realistically, every farm has some potential food safety issues. A successful food safety program manages these issues effectively.
The new regulations emphasize a pro-active, preventative approach by the food industry to reduce contamination and food-borne illness.
Mission is encouraging growers to become GFSI Certified because it is becoming the industry standard.
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Below are some links that will increase your knowledge of avocados and connect you with like-minded individuals like growers, state commodity organizations and university agricultural departments.