Texas International Produce Association Honors Ken Martin With Open Golf Tournament to Raise Money for Scholarships; Ed Bertaud and Craig Slate Share
MISSION, TX - Members across our industry are preparing to tee off at the Viva Fresh Open charity golf tournament, and the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) recently announced that this year’s event will posthumously honor Founder of Rio Queen Citrus Ken Martin.
“Our industry is fortunate to be rich with icons, like Ken Martin, who have blazed paths for the rest of us to follow. Aside from his success in business, Ken was a charismatic individual with a passion for agriculture,” remarked Ed Bertaud, Director of Retail Sales for IFCO and Golf Tournament Chair. “It has been our hope and intent to honor Ken since 2019, but with the COVID-19 cancellation of Viva Fresh in 2020, it was not possible. This year, we are back again and ready to celebrate the life of one of our own through this event, something I am very confident Ken himself would have loved.”
The Ken Martin Viva Fresh Open will be held over two consecutive days on Thursday afternoon, April 21, and Friday morning, April 22, at Cowboys Golf Club in Texas.
Ken Martin spent most of his career farming in Texas and founded one of the largest citrus and onion grower-shippers in the Rio Grande Valley, as explained in a press release, and was an early proponent of the now-famous Rio Star Grapefruit. Throughout his career, he also served on numerous industry committees and boards. He passed away on August 7, 2019, leaving behind an indelible produce legacy.
“The yearly Viva Fresh Open is an opportunity to provide memorial recognition while raising funds to support what we hope will be the next generation of produce professionals,” Craig Slate, President and Chief Executive Officer of SunFed and golf tournament Vice Chair, noted. “It’s always difficult to lose a friend and industry icon, but we hope that each year we can remember and celebrate those individuals who have had a major impact in our region. Ken, without a doubt, had a major impact on South Texas, the produce industry, and me. I’m grateful that Ken was chosen as this year’s honoree.”
Presented by BEBO Distributing and Wonderful Citrus, the charity golf event will raise funds for an industry scholarship program open to employees, as well as the respective families of TIPA-member companies. The program sets out to provide funding for students pursuing educational opportunities within any field of the fresh produce supply chain. Thirteen scholarships have already been awarded thanks to funds raised from previous Viva Fresh Open events.
Following the event, all Viva Fresh attendees are invited to the 19th Hole Celebration, hosted at the Texan Station inside the Gaylord Hotel from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to celebrate with food, drinks, music, and more. It will also serve as a pregame celebration for those teeing off on Friday morning.
Spots are limited, so be sure to register here for the event.
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