Mastronardi Produce is the new sponsor of the Leamington Tomato Festival in Ontario, succeeding H.J. Heinz Co. which closed its local plant in late June.
The event had origins as a Heinz company picnic but evolved into a communitywide festival, now in its 31st year. Residents annually gather to celebrate the local harvest with live entertainment, a tomato stomp and other activities.
The event, set for Aug. 15-17 at Seacliff Park, has a new name – Leamington Sunset Tomato Festival. Mastronardi Produce ships under the Sunset label.
“The Heinz closure is obviously very hard for the community,” Mike Ciacelli, festival director, said in a news release. “We wanted to make sure something as iconic as the Tomato Fest remained locally sponsored and locally run.”
“My grandfather worked for Heinz for a number of years and many of our employees have close ties to the company,” chief executive officer Paul Mastronardi said in the release. “We want to show our support in any way we can.”
Mastronardi has been celebrating its 60th anniversary as a greenhouse company. The company grows tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers year round.