Delta, British Columbia-based Village Farms International Inc. is in the process of rebuilding some hail-damaged facilities in Texas, is up for a Texas Employer of the Year Award and has launched its own Texas Grown seal.
About 80 acres of greenhouse production in Marfa, Texas, were knocked out by a hailstorm in May 2012, said Helen Aquino, marketing manager. About 40 acres were repaired immediately after the storm, and the company in October approved rebuilding 20 more acres.
The company expects to have 60 acres in full production by early July, she said.
The repairs will include enhancements to the facility, such as raising the height, which the company said will extend its lifespan and increase productivity.
Total project cost for the overall site is estimated at slightly less than $9 million.
“With the improvements we are making to the structure and underlying systems, it will essentially be a new and modern greenhouse when it is complete with a prolonged service life,” president and chief executive officer Michael DeGiglio said in a news release.
Village Farms grows several tomato varieties and long English cucumbers in Marfa.
The company also has been named one of five finalists for the Texas Workforce Commission’s Employer of the Year Award.
Finalists were selected from 25 employers nominated for their contributions to the community’s workforce through innovation and collaboration with the Texas workforce system, according to a news release.
Other nominees are Caterpillar Inc., Durcon Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp. and GE Transportation.
The winner will be announced Dec. 5 at the Texas Workforce Conference in San Antonio.
Finally, the company has developed its own easily recognizable, Texas-shaped seal designed to let consumers know their product was grown in Texas greenhouses, Aquino said.
“The movement toward locally grown is gaining momentum throughout the U.S.,” she said.
That’s especially true in Texas.
“In Texas, there’s also a uniqueness in that people have a strong sense of place,” she said.
“People love their state, they love where they’re from, so they’re proud to support products that are from their state.”
The seal has been well-received by retailers, she said, many of whom who have requested additional point-of-sale materials.