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Viva Fresh Open To Honor TIPA Employee Gracie Gonzalez

Viva Fresh

The 8th Annual Viva Fresh Open, presented by BEBO Distributing Inc. and H-E-B, has opened registration for its tournament, to be held March 30. The event will also posthumously honor Gracie Gonzalez, a longtime employee of the Texas International Produce Association team, who passed away in 2020.

Since the 1990s, Gonzalez worked with the South Texas Onion and Melon Committee, Texas Produce Association and Texas Citrus Mutual. Her presence and hard work were part of the behind-the-scenes effort that helped craft the association.

“The TIPA team is so very grateful to Gracie Gonzalez for her efforts and contributions to our many activities, meetings and events. She led by example, and always had a smile on her face,” remarked Dante Galeazzi, president and CEO of TIPA.

“Her passing was a grave loss to our organization and the industry. Her passion for produce and immense positive energy was infectious. It is with great honor that we celebrate the life of one of our very own through this event, something I know Gracie herself would have been humbled by.”

Former TIPA President and CEO Bret Erickson said, “Gracie was an angel on this earth long before she went to be an angel in Heaven. I had the sheer joy of getting to know Gracie and her family during my time at Texas Citrus Mutual and TIPA. Seldom in this life have I met someone with such class, grace, and kindness. Gracie was a beacon of light wherever she went, she exuded pure love, every single day, and was so incredibly dedicated to God, her family, her friends and colleagues. It is an honor to be able to recognize and acknowledge Gracie’s life through this prestigious Texas produce event.”

A portion of this year’s funds will be presented in conjunction with Texas State University to the Hays County Juvenile Detention Center in San Marcos, Texas, to develop an in-house garden.

“We’ve been fortunate to support a variety of charitable projects and dozens of industry scholarships, but this year’s donation strikes a new chord by addressing a long-underserved audience,” said Ed Bertaud, director of retail sales for IFCO, Viva Fresh Expo steering committee member and tournament chair.

“The Hays County Juvenile Detention Center serves nearly 150 youth, ages 13-16 in three- to six-month programs, addressing substance abuse and mental health programs. We have long known the power of healthy eating in changing lifestyles and building better habits. I think this is a positive step forward that recognizes every person can eat well and be better.”

The 2023 Viva Fresh Open will feature two rounds of golf to begin the 2023 Viva Fresh Expo on March 30: shotgun starts will be at 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at Cowboys Golf Club, adjacent to the Gaylord Texan Resort.

As an alternative to the annual golf outing, the second annual Viva Fresh Winery Tour in nearby downtown Grapevine returns on March 30 from 12 pm to 4:30 pm. The tour will consist of three wine tasting stops in downtown Grapevine from local-area wineries: Farina’s Winery, Cross Timbers and Delaney Vineyards.

Sponsored by SunFed, tickets are available and can be added while registering for the show.

For more information, visit vivafreshexpo.com.

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