31 Jan 2020

Expanding Places, People and Products into a new decade – A message from our Outdoor Commercial Team

With an exciting start to a new decade, we want to acknowledge the bustling year 2019 provided in our continued growth.  We expanded our outdoor commercial team, product portfolio, and facilities to help secure future growth in our North American business.

People and Products

In 2019, we launched several exciting new products and innovations.  Products such as Cabbisi cabbage, Sinope and Themisto rocket, and Cayucos Beach cantaloupe are just a few examples of Rijk Zwaan’s effort to create innovative product, introduce disease resistance, and enhance the consumer experience with high flavor and extended shelf life.  Stay tuned – there are many more projects in the pipeline!

In order to expand and support our growth, we added key outdoor commercial positions in strategic locations to help you, our partners, grow business together.  In the processing cucumber business, we added Sam McGowen as our Southern region Crop Specialist.  Sam lives in North Carolina and will work together with Rob Grohs and George Pape developing our growing pickle business.

For the Western region, we added Tom Duvall as our San Joaquin Valley Product Development representative in 2018.  Yuma and Imperial Valley has and will continue to be an important region for winter vegetable production.  Nate Peretz is our new Desert Southwest Product Development representative and will assist all Crop Specialists with trials and client assistance.

In summer 2019, we were fortunate to have Kacie Wynne join the team as an intern at our Gonzalez research farm.  We were so impressed with her work ethic and her willingness to learn the diverse crops of Monterey County, we asked her to join our team full-time as our Coastal Product Development representative.  Kacie will focus on lettuce but like Nate, will assist with projects on all crops.

Brandon Avilla has many years of experience in the produce business and we are happy to have him join our team as our Product Development Lettuce representative, with a focus in Romaine and Iceberg.  In addition, Brandon will work closely with our dealer partners to help them trial and evaluate new lettuce varieties.  

So much of our outdoor commercial team growth is specifically in the area of product development, a key area of focus for Rijk Zwaan’s growth.  Rijk Zwaan’s product portfolio covers the entire continent, this presents a challenge with such a large area.  Adding value by adding engaged and passionate team members who will help our Crop Specialists and our dealer partners is always our main goal.

Full team contact information


We continue to develop our outdoor crop research farms purchased in 2018.  At our new South Florida Research Farm, projects to build and develop the facility are ongoing. We have a strong team in place with our Station Manager (Joe Benson), Trial Coordinator (Emily Pawa), and Farm Technician (Kris Yzaguirre).  Our Florida Station Team has already completed successful trials in watermelon, squash, cabbage, pepper, melons, and radish.  We plan to have field days at our Florida Station starting in 2020 for these crops.  We have also added to our Gonzalez farm team with the addition of Jesse Amador, our new Farm Assistant, and have made progress on exciting new projects with a remodeled office and research greenhouses.  

Station Team contact information

Expanding our team into the future 

To continue our exciting expansion into the new decade, we are excited to offer the following current career and internship opportunities:

Career Opportunities

Account Manager - Salinas, California

Greenhouse Technical Sales - Leamington, Ontario, Canada

Logistics Specialist - Leamington, Ontario, Canada


We are searching for motivated students with a passion for agriculture!  An internship will provide challenges in which the student can develop their strengths and interests into the future. We want to support your learning and continuously work together towards a healthy future.  Our current Internships offered:

Farm Internship - Gonzales, California

Greenhouse Assistant - Leamington, Ontario Canada

Rijk Zwaan Internship Program