Next Big Thing Growers’ Cooperative has named Jennifer Parkhill executive director. The cooperative and its 45-plus members grow and market managed apple varieties, including the popular SweeTango brand apple.
Parkhill is responsible for developing strategic plans to advance the cooperative’s mission and objectives, promoting the co-op brand and communicating progress to grower members. She oversees operations and finances to ensure continued viability of the Wenatchee, Washington-based company.
“We are so excited to have Jennifer join the team to lead us as we grow the SweeTango brand and begin to advance the Kissabel brand of colored fleshed apples,” said West Mathison, president of Stemilt, a cooperative member and board member. “Jennifer’s energy and deep experience in launching new products is a perfect skill fit for us. The Next Big Thing Cooperative is nearly 10 years old with an innovative spirit.”
Parkhill joins the cooperative from US Foods in Rosemont, Illinois. She served in a variety of marketing and category management positions for the past 19 years. Her background also includes association communication and marketing with more than 18 years of experience in graphic design and computer database management. She holds a dual degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, in journalism and anthropology.
“I am excited to get started and dive deep into the operations of the Next Big Thing Cooperative. I want to continue their great work as well as capitalize on the Next Big Thing structure while strengthening relationships and knowledge for all our grower partners. A foundation of continued sharing and partnership will set Next Big Thing Cooperative up for more success. This platform will help form the base to introduce additional innovative varieties in the coming years,” Parkhill said.
Next Big Thing, A Growers’ Cooperative is a 47-member cooperative of family growers, spread from Nova Scotia to Washington State, that grows and markets managed varieties of apples, beginning with SweeTango.
Introduced in 2009, SweeTango is a premium apple variety that was developed by the University of Minnesota using time-honored horticultural techniques to cross the Honeycrisp and Zestar apple varieties. A seasonal apple harvested in early fall, SweeTango is available during the apple season across the U.S. and Canada.