It’s the first greenhouse-grown produce marketed by Salinas, Calif.-based Green Giant Fresh, said Mishalin Modena, senior marketing communications manager.
Shipments of Concerto grape tomatoes by Delta, British Columbia-based Windset Farms began the week of Feb. 20. They’re produced at its Santa Maria, Calif., greenhouses.
Green Giant Fresh and Windset Farms plan to introduce beefsteak, roma and vine tomatoes in the spring.
“When we were looking at partners, Windset Farms had such a strong program and can offer tomatoes year-round,” Modena said. “They seemed to be the leader in greenhouse tomatoes.”
Jamie Strachan, president of Green Giant Fresh, said the company plans to add commodities.
“We’ve got an exciting start with some key customers who will give us broad coverage throughout the U.S.,” he said. “Over the coming years, we’re planning to add more greenhouse-grown products. We’ll focus on cucumbers and peppers next.”
Green Giant Fresh has had its eye on greenhouse product, Strachan said.
“We’ve been watching it for some time now,” he said. “Windset Farms and the greenhouse business in general are more consistent than field grown because products can be grown with timing certainty and planned out for customers in a much more consistent manner.
“With some of the food safety issues, and the variations in crop availability over the past years, retailers are really looking for more consistent, higher-quality, greenhouse-type products.”
Traceability was another motivator for Green Giant Fresh.
“Their system is streamlined and from a food safety aspect that makes it easier to track and trace,” Modena said. “We just wanted to be sure we could trace back throughout the entire system. Our company’s pretty heavily up on PTI and making sure all our partners are working toward that.
“The other thing we liked is that they have a strong sustainability program. All companies are trying to be more sustainable, but Windset happens to be pretty advanced.”
“Sustainability is more than a buzzword at Windset,” Steve Newell, Windset Farms president, said in a news release. “For us, sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals: environmental stewardship, farm profitability and prosperous farming communities. Sustainable agriculture means the ability of a farm to produce food indefinitely, with little impact.”