Bill Sutherland founded Sutherland Produce Sales, Inc in 1987 as one of the first brokers dedicated exclusively to organic produce. His pioneering involvement in organic farming, industry experience and personal relationships with quality organic growers helped him quickly establish his young company as a respected supplier of organic fruit and vegetables earning Sutherland the prestigious XXXX Blue Book rating. Growers like Olson Family Farms (stone fruit), Rucker Homestead (citrus, table grapes), Todd Organic Orchards (Bartlett Pears), and Naylor Organics (stone fruit) to name a few, contributed to the company’s reputation for delivering consistent, top-quality organic produce to its regional wholesalers, distributors and retailers. Today under Bill’s leadership, Sutherland Produce offers a growing line of certified organic fruit and vegetables while continuing to represent many of Bill’s original growers from California, Oregon, Washington and Mexico.
Prior to founding Sutherland produce, Bill pioneered new methods and set new standards in the way organic produce was packaged and presented. In 1978, he opened the first organic citrus and avocado packing house in the country. Later in 1980, Bill opened another packing operation, Fresh Start Farms, and in 1984, he and another organics pioneer, Charlie Heermans, combined their talents to open West Coast Organics, an organization specializing in packing, distribution and sales of organic citrus, avocados and specialty fruit.
Bill discovered his passion for agriculture while attending New Mexico State from 1969-1972. After a few years exploring Santa Cruz, Mexico and Kauai, he returned to San Diego where Bill earned a B.A. in Education from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). It was in Temecula, 60 miles north of San Diego, where he was first introduced to the quality and benefits of organic farming. As an industry pioneer, Bill is often asked to provide his historical and current day perspective on the organic produce market. He resides with his wife, Betsy, in El Cajon, California.