WIMAUMA, Fla. — To supply growing demand, Tomato Thyme Corp. is expanding its acreage nationally, introducing a line of convenience tomatoes, consolidating its name and adding marketing muscle.
The grower-shipper added 200 acres in the Loxahatchee area of eastern Palm Beach County, land that’s less susceptible to winter freezes, increasing Tomato Thyme’s Florida production to 600 acres.
Tomato Thyme also grows Florida tomatoes in Apollo Beach, Sarasota, Wauchula and Jennings, as well as North Carolina.
To supply more local product to regional retailers, the company is finalizing deals in Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, New Jersey and New York, said Michael Lacey, director of sales and marketing.
Tomato Thyme will also market Handy Candy grape tomatoes. The resealable 4-ounce cups come in 24-count master display-ready containers fit in cup holders, Lacey said.
He said Tomato Thyme suggests pricing of 99 cents-$1.29.
Other companies also grow, pack and distribute the Handy Candy-brand tomatoes through licensing by Birmingham, Ala.-based Handy Candy LLC.
All Tomato Thyme brands retain their name, but will be marketed through Tomato Thyme Corp. That includes Red Diamond Farms (including grape cherry and roma tomatoes), White Diamond Farms (for processed products) Tasti-Lee tomatoes and Ruby Ripes-branded specialty cocktail tomatoes.
“There’s been a lot of confusion as to what’s Red Diamond and what’s Tomato Thyme,” Lacey said. “We’re taking baby steps to move it all together. We want to make sure all branded products are under the Tomato Thyme umbrella.”
To beef-up its marketing, Tomato Thyme hired Amanda Wigley in a marketing role.
Wigley, who began in early October, graduated from the University of Tampa as a marketing major and worked in marketing as an independent contractor to a variety of businesses.
“She has the marketing background which is really important to us and our brands,” Lacey said. “She really has a push in the social media which is really important. As we are focusing on branding products with Tomato Thyme, Amanda has that background of growing companies and the marketing and branding part, which is important in our focus to differentiate our products.”