Awe Sum Organics CEO named one of Packer 25
Awe Sum Organics CEO David Posner is honored to have been named one of the Packer 25 in 2016. Read full article here.
David Posner, CEO of Awe Sum Organics, started the company with a goal of making organic produce available throughout the year — something he has achieved by sourcing fruit mainly from the Southern Hemisphere to meet demand during the U.S. offseason.
Thanks to innovation in several areas, Posner’s vision has become reality, and the company has grown large enough to have a booth at Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit this year for the first time.
“It’s pretty rewarding,” Posner said. “It, of course, is nice because I’m very passionate about what I’m doing. My whole team is passionate, my growers are passionate.
“I go to the farms all the time,” Posner said. “I’m working with the growers on fertilization and inputs and growing methods … That part has always been really exciting to me. I’ve always loved growing fruit and produce, of course organically, and so now our organic methods are really pretty much state-of-the-art. It’s developed so far.”
Posner, 61, had grown up farming and became particularly interested in promoting organic after reading the 1962 book, “Silent Spring.”
“I wasn’t really thinking about business as much as I was just thinking about what was the good thing to do that I wanted to be doing,” Posner said.
The company now sources its produce from New Zealand, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Italy and California.
Posner encountered some obstacles early on.
In New Zealand, growers were only allowed to export through the country’s apple and pear board, which refused to pack organically grown apples as organic. Posner eventually received a permit to circumvent the board after growers protested at Parliament.
Posner ran into another hurdle when he looked into importing grapes. A method being used in Brazil allowed for growers to bring grapes in and out of dormancy so that they could be brought to market at specific times, but the method included the use of Dormex, a strong growth regulator.
For help, Posner enlisted a friend, Steve Pavich, a senior plant nutritionist at BioFlora who has worked on projects with Awe Sum for years.
Eventually they developed exactly what they had set out to develop: an organic alternative to Dormex that was nearly as effective.
As Awe Sum has grown, Posner has stepped back to some extent and is less intensely hands-on than he used to be, said Dan Cheatham, quality control manager and salesman at Awe Sum. Even so, Posner still has his finger on the pulse.
“He holds his growers, himself, to the highest standards,” Cheatham said. “He’s got a great big heart but also has a very analytical, sharp business mind.”