The Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA) recognized excellence in the Ontario produce industry at its Virtual Awards Ceremony. The OPMA presented four premier Ontario produce industry awards and for the first time, recognized Produce Heroes at the awards ceremony.
The Cory Clack-Streef Produce Person of the Year Award highlights individuals who work tirelessly to improve the consumption of fresh produce through innovation and hard work. The 2021 award went to Kim Chackal from Equifruit who has made strides in helping consumers to digest the topic of Fairtrade, through the rebranding of Equifruit.
The OPMA Fresh Award is presented to a young individual in the produce industry that has demonstrated passion, spirit and dedication towards the industry. This year’s recipient of the Fresh Award is Michael Miranda from Farm Boy. Miranda is the chair of the OPMA's Young Professionals Network and was recently promoted to category manager at Farm Boy.
The OPMA Outstanding Achievement Award is presented to an individual or organization that has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the produce industry through their efforts to improve the quality and distribution of fruits and vegetables. The 2021 award was presented to Mimmo Franzone from Longo Brothers Fruit Markets. He played a significant role in converting Longo’s organic banana offering to organic-Fairtrade in May 2021.
The OPMA Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has dedicated many years to improving the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Ray Wowryk was honoured with this year’s award, as he is a leader not only within Nature Fresh Farms but across the produce industry. Having been a part of the industry over the past 40 years, Wowryk has worked in every level of produce from warehouse labour to sales and procurement, to fresh imports and exports.
The Produce Heroes recognized at the awards ceremony for making OPMA’s Christmas Hamper donations possible were Irene Cloherty and Derek Comfort from Gambles Transport Team; Quinton Woods from Gwillimdale Farms; and Daniel Spiegelman. Produce Heroes from across the industry also recognized were Rita Galardo from North American Produce Buyers; Tony Deodato & Sons; Amber Reinhart from Nature Fresh Farms; Nick Van Berlo from Berlo’s Best; and The Wonderful Merchandising Team.