Growing Up Fresh

The United Fresh Start Foundation is focused on one core mission — to increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

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United Fresh Start Foundation Annual Conference

The 2018 United Fresh Start Foundation Annual Conference & Gala Dinner
January 16-18, 2018 | Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego, CA

The United Fresh Start Foundation Annual Conference, January 16-18 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, will feature a new half-day program focused on growing access to fresh fruits and vegetables; all of United Fresh’s traditional volunteer leadership board, council and committee meetings; the Foundation’s annual fundraising golf tournament, a new silent/live auction, and our annual Gala Dinner recognizing the recipient of United Fresh’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Proceeds from the event support the United Fresh Start Foundation and our mission to increase children’s access to fresh produce.

Registration for the entire event is open to all United Fresh members for $200, with a non-member rate of $400. Participation in the United Fresh Start Foundation Golf Tournament is set at $300 per player.

Register Today

Schedule of Events

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

10:30 am – 5:00 pmUnited Fresh Start Foundation Golf Tournament
2:00 pm – 7:00 pmRegistration & Silent Auction
6:30 pm – 9:00 pmUnited Fresh Start Foundation Gala Reception, Dinner & Auction

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

7:00 am – 2:30 pmRegistration Open
8:00 am – NoonBreakfast & General Session Education
8:00 am – NoonFood Safety & Technology Council Open Forum & Breakfast
12:30 pm – 1:00 pmVolunteer Leaders Lunch
12:30 pm – 5:00 pmVolunteer Leaders Board, Council & Committee Meetings
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm Volunteer Leaders Reception & Dinner

Thursday, January 18, 2018

All DayBoard of Directors Meeting

*Schedule subject to change.

Lifetime Achievement AwardFoundation Gala Dinner

United Fresh Produce Association will present its Lifetime Achievement Award to Hugh Topper, Group Vice President of Fresh Foods for H-E-B, at the Foundation Gala Dinner January 16.

Topper joins a distinguished group of past recipients, including Bruce McEvoy, Rick and Tonya Antle, Mike Cavallero, Joe Procacci, Reggie Griffin, Frieda Caplan and Bob Grimm (posthumously).

A native of Midland, Texas and raised on a family cattle ranch in Oklahoma, Hugh received a BS in Agricultural Economics from Oklahoma State University in 1982. He joined Fleming Foods Company and worked for 10 years in Kansas, California, Missouri and Texas, holding positions as Quality Assurance Manager, Produce Merchandiser, Produce Operations Manager and Manager of Frozen Food/Dairy Operations.

Coming back to his roots in Texas, he joined the H-E-B Grocery Company, where he has worked for 26 years building a solid foundation for the company in fresh produce and fresh foods. Hugh has served H-E-B as Produce Category Manager, Director of Produce Procurement, Vice President of Produce Procurement, Vice President of Produce, Chief Merchant for Central Market Division and Group Vice President of Fresh Foods.

Throughout his career, Hugh has been active in the industry serving on the United Fresh Board of Directors, United Fresh Start Foundation Board of Trustees, Produce Marketing Association’s PEIB Board Chairman, Texas International Produce Association Board of Directors and Produce for Better Health Foundation Board.

Hugh also has worked with Texas A&M University as a Guest Lecturer for the College of Agriculture, and as an Advisory Board Member for the Texas A&M Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center and Texas Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee.

Hugh has always given back to the community. He has been the United Way Chairperson for H-E-B, which was recognized as the #1 Company Employee Contributor in Texas. Hugh also served on the San Antonio Food Bank Board of Directors and San Antonio Food Bank Committee Chair. While leading the Food Committee, he created the annual holiday gift of produce, “Harvest from the Heart,” which has generated over 14 million pounds of fresh produce for those in need to support holiday meals in the past five years.

Hugh’s leadership with the United Fresh Start Foundation was a natural outgrowth of his and H-E-B’s commitment to children’s health. In Seguin, Texas, Hugh started a salad bar program for all elementary schools. The newest program he created is “Let’s Get Growing,” a program for low-income elementary schools in South Texas. The Program teaches 2nd graders how to grow produce through individual take home “farms”. It also partners with H-E-B dietitians, school administrators, teachers, students and parents to put together healthy meals through education and fresh produce consumption. To help drive participation, the school that has the highest support from parents gets a new playground!

Golf Tournament

The 2018 United Fresh Start Foundation Golf Tournament will take place Tuesday, January 16, 2018. The recently renovated 18-Hole San Diego Championship Golf Course at Rancho Bernardo Inn has hosted both PGA and LPGA events and continues to present golfers of all skill levels with a challenging and rewarding day on the course.

Tuesday, January 16

9:30 amGolf Tournament Check-in
Practice putting greens are open. Shuttles available to the driving range.
10:45 am – 11:50 am Putt-for-Cash Competition
Practice Putting Green (near United Fresh golf registration area)
Noon Golf Tournament Shotgun Start


This year’s event will feature a $10,000 Putt Fore Cash competition, as well as contest holes including Longest Drive, Closest-to-the-Pin and a $20,000 Hole in One competition. All par-3 holes also will include prize opportunities for Hole in One winners, and watch out for the spud gun fundraiser on the 12th hole!

Rental clubs are available for $75 for men and women, and come with two sleeves of golf balls. Participation in the United Fresh Start Foundation Golf Tournament is set at $300 per player.


For information on shipping golf clubs to the course, or general questions about this year’s tournament, contact Andrew Marshall at 202-303-3407.

Hotel & Travel

The Rancho Bernardo Inn is the event location for the United Fresh Start Foundation Annual Conference & Gala Dinner.

Rancho Bernardo Inn
17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive
San Diego, CA 92128



United Fresh has reserved a block of rooms at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego at the preferred rate of $269. Reservations must be made by December 28, 2017 to receive the discounted rate. An additional resort fee will apply.

Reserve Your Room

Or call the hotel at 1-844-226-8262 and reference United Fresh.

All proceeds from the Gala Dinner support the United Fresh Start Foundation’s programs to increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables – ensuring generations of children are growing up fresh.