Vice President of Business Development, Church Brothers

Ernst van Eeghen is vice president of business development for Church Brothers and has been active in the produce industry for 13 years. He moved from The Netherlands to the United States in 2000 and started his career as a product marketer at Monterey Gourmet foods.

In 2004 Joe Nucci convinced Ernst to move into the produce industry as marketing manager at Mann Packing Co. During this time Mann Packing introduced several successful new products including Snacks on the Go, Steam Vegetables & Sauce items and Fresh-cut Sweet Potatoes.

In 2007 Ernst was asked to join Church Brothers/True Leaf Farms that had just purchased a large processing facility in San Juan Bautista. During Ernst’s first 7-year spell at the company he was vice president of marketing and product development and successfully introduced a full line of value-added vegetables that included fresh cut lettuce, coleslaw, florets and whole leaves. Additionally Church Brothers Farms introduced industry-changing items such as Teen Green Sandwich Leaves, Euro Romaine Lettuce Cups, Red Heirloom Spinach and Wasabi Arugula.

In 2014 Ernst left Church Brothers and moved his family to Texas to be closer to his in-laws in Oklahoma & Texas. Ernst spent a year at Twang Partners, an innovative flavorings manufacturer operating in retail, convenience and B2B channels. During his stay in Texas, Ernst’s team was responsible for successfully launching a new line of Café Zuca coffee flavorings and an innovative line of produce seasonings under the Zas! brand. When returning to the Central Coast in California, Ernst joined Germains Seed Technology as head of sales and marketing. Germains is an industry leader developing proprietary and innovative seed treatments for the horticulture markets across North America.

In July of this year Ernst was approached to return to Church Brothers Farms at the time when Brian Church was its appointed chief executive. Ernst has a strong passion for innovation and his expertise is heavily focused, but not limited, to fresh produce innovation in foodservice and retail channels. Ernst travels the world to search for and ‘borrow’ ideas from abroad.