Jeff Gargiulo, one of the most familiar names in the agriculture industry in Southwest Florida, has joined the board of directors of Lipman, the giant tomato grower based in Immokalee.
Gargiulo and his family owned Naples-based Gargiulo Tomato for decades before selling it in 1997 to agribusiness giant Monsanto. By the time he sold the company, Gargiulo handled 10% of the U.S. fresh tomato production in the U.S. with operations in Florida, California, Virginia, Mexico and Chile.
Gargiulo later served as president and CEO of Sunkist Growers, and he's the past chairman of the Produce Marketing Association. He currently owns and operates Gargiulo Vineyards in Napa Valley and is the chairman of Greenleaf Produce, a San Francisco food distributor.
Gargiulo's interest in wine includes being a trustee for the Naples Children & Education Foundation, the charity that raises millions of dollars each year at the Naples Winter Wine Festival.
Lipman, the tomato grower named after the Lipman family, says it is now the largest open-field tomato grower in North America. The privately held firm owns thousands of acres, processing plants and packinghouses in Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, California and Mexico.