(UPDATED COVERAGE, 3:48 p.m., July 19) The first crop of West Coast Tomato Growers LLC vine-ripes marketed by the Oppenheimer Group is being color-sorted and staged on-site.
Vancouver, British Columbia-based Oppenheimer inked a deal earlier this year to market tomatoes grown by West Coast, which is owned by Harry Singh Jr., a former leader of Oceanside, Calif.-based Oceanside Pole Tomato Sales Inc., which closed in 2011.
West Coast tomatoes, like Oceanside Pole tomatoes before them, are grown on poles.
In the past, Oceanside Pole tomatoes were color-sorted and staged off-site by a third party, said Aaron Quon, Oppenheimer’s vegetable category director.
By bringing those processes in-house, West Coast and Oppenheimer can better match product with customers’ specifications, Quon said.
In addition, Oppenheimer is packing West Coast tomatoes in a new carton that reflects the heritage of the Oceanside area, where Singh’s family has farmed for more than 70 years.
Growing tomatoes on poles enhances air circulation, manages moisture and keeps tomatoes in a pristine condition throughout the growing season, Quon said.
Quon said the West Coast deal will supplement Oppenheimer’s greenhouse and conventionally-grown on-the-vine supplies from Canada and Mexico.
“We have an excellent choice of tomatoes available to meet our customers’ preferences throughout this essential time of year,” he said.
West Coast tomatoes marketed by Oppenheimer are expected to be available through mid-November.