PORTLAND, Maine — The Madison-based greenhouse tomato grower Backyard Farms has hired a former Dole executive as its new president and chief operating officer.

The company, which claims the title of the largest year-round tomato producer in New England, announced Monday that Stuart Jablon will take over for Paul Mucci as president and chief operating officer.

“This is great news for Backyard Farms,” said Stephen Bell, chairman of the board at Backyard Farms. “Stuart is an industry veteran with extensive experience.”

The company said Jablon was most recently the vice president of operators at Dole Fresh Fruit Co., starting in 2005. There, he was responsible for the company’s import operations and previously led operations for the company’s product lines including bananas, pineapples and other perishable fruits in North America, Latin America and Europe, according to a statement.

The announcement comes after the 200-employee company in January celebrated its first harvest since last summer. The company, which grows more than 25 million pounds of tomatoes a year, was forced to destroy its entire crop in July 2013 because of a white-fly infestation and a problem seeding its next crop led to another delay in August.

Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.