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Peruvian Asparagus Importers’ Association announces new chairmen

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January 8, 2024 — At their 2023 October Board Meeting in Anaheim, California, the Peruvian Asparagus Importers’ Association (PAIA) announced their new Co-Chairmen for 2024-2025: Carlos Solf of Southern Specialties for the East Coast Chair and Craig Rolandelli of Jacobs Malcolm & Burtt (JMB) for the West Coast Chair.

“PAIA Co-Chairmen help guide the association in our efforts to advance the asparagus trade industry and progress the entire asparagus category as a whole,” says Priscilla Lleras, Executive Director for the Peruvian Asparagus Importers Association.

The PAIA Association Co-Chairmen serve a two-year (biennial) term and are voted in by their membership peers.  The record of PAIA Co-Chairmen seats have served the asparagus industry well by dedicated and driven industry leaders. 

2016Walter YagerJay Rodriguez
2017Walter YagerJay Rodriguez
2018Walter YagerJay Rodriguez
2019Walter YagerJay Rodriguez
2020Walter YagerJay Rodriguez
2021Walter YagerJay Rodriguez
2022Walter YagerJay Rodriguez
2023Walter YagerJay Rodriguez

In recent history, PAIA Chairmen have voted in Walter Yager of Alpine Fresh and Jay Rodriguez of Crystal Valley Foods for consecutive terms.  Their leadership has continued to yield advancement throughout the asparagus trade deal. 

Walter Yager states, “It has been a privilege and a joy to serve as PAIA Co-Chairman and work alongside our member associates within PAIA.  Together, we have been able to steer the industry well and obtain many goals.”

Jay Rodriguez states, “I am grateful to have served as PAIA Co-Chair, the PAIA Association is a collaborative association creating a very unique culture where competitors interact and work together to obtain industry goals.” PAIA 2022-2023 chairmen have warmly wished continued success to the 2024-2025 Co-Chairmen and have committed their further collaboration, if necessary, within the association.  

The 2024-25 PAIA Co-Chairmen, Carlos Solf of Southern Specialties and Craig Rolandelli of Jacobs Malcolm & Burtt (JMB) have the responsibility to carry the torch with consistency. 

Carlos Solf states, “Certainly, PAIA previous chairmen have exhibited their loyalty to the association and industry. We have the responsibility to carry out consistency in growth, common vision and goals that are all executed with accuracy.”

Craig Rolandelli states, “PAIA’s membership represent over 90% of the fresh asparagus industry that is consumed within the United States.  Carlos and I are dedicated to maintaining the strong relationships within the association and realize long-term strategic plans for the fresh asparagus industry with thoughtful collaboration.”

PAIA Association was developed in 2001 and will be celebrating 23 years of service to the industry in September 2024.  Throughout their establishment, they have maintained leadership within the asparagus trade industry because of their membership. 

“Our members are leaders of the industry, their commitment to the association brings deliberate success and growth.  Our membership is comprised of first-class importers and industry service providers.  PAIA Membership cares about our association and industry and are involved in our progression,” adds Lleras.

PAIA Mission Statement:

The Peruvian Asparagus Importers Association (PAIA) is an organization of US companies involved in the trade of importing fresh Peruvian asparagus within North America.  We are committed to improving the process and present a united forum through which dialogue and progress is achieved.  We represent the industry to the trade and focus on issues of political and logistical importance. 

For more information about PAIA or Peruvian asparagus, please see their website at:

The association plans to focus even greater efforts in 2024 on spreading the positive word to trade press, retailers, and industry concerning the benefits of fresh asparagus. The association anticipates increasing consumption and demand for fresh asparagus in 2024 through articles, advertisements, direct-communication, and trade show participation.