BC Hot House sees sales grow

BC Hot House is up 28% overall in cases this year with a projected growth of another 30% for next summer, said Kevin Batt, director of sales for BC Hot House Foods Inc., Surrey, British Columbia.

Among the company’s new products:

  • Blushers Pink Cherry Tomatoes, from the growers at Delta View Farms;
  • Creekside Hothouse’s Taste Buddies Mini Pepps in red, yellow and orange; and
  • Hot Pyro Peppers, a greenhouse-grown hot chili available May through October.

Additionally in 2012, BC Hot House expects updated and refreshed packaging, increased social and quick-response codes on all packaging, and website updates.

Eastern Fresh adds to its lineup

Eastern Fresh Growers in Cedarville, N.J., is offering new products for retailers: a club pack (which includes six to eight larger green peppers in a bag) and a medium green pepper pack (12 peppers per bag), said Tom Sheppard, vice president of Sheppard Farms and president of its sister wholesale produce company, Eastern Fresh Growers Inc.

“It’s a way to promote more volume,” he said.

Additionally, Sheppard said a 28,000-square-foot packinghouse opened last year in Cedarville, N.J., that will “run a really sterile environment.”

It will be fully refrigerated and product will remain in a controlled environment the whole time. The packinghouse was built with enough space to add an electronic pepper packing line in the future.

Lakeside Produce relaunches Solo brand

Is a fresh greenhouse bell pepper with a long shelf life too good to be true?

Not according to Leamington, Ontario-based Lakeside Produce, which introduced Everfresh packaging technology as part of a relaunch of its Solo-brand sweet peppers.

“The most amazing thing is that whether (the package) is opened two days or two weeks after purchase, it has the smell of a fresh harvest pepper,” said president Chris Cervini.

Lakeside offers Solo individually wrapped peppers, as well as three-, four- and six-packs of the red, yellow and orange bells.

The Everfresh system utilizes a proprietary film technology that reduces shrink while maintaining freshness. The clear packaging, designed especially for peppers, is 100% recyclable.

“Our retail partners are all telling us they like it,” Cervini said. “Depending on the color, (retailers) are seeing a 5% to 15% increase in sales.”

The retail campaign will include a consumer-based mobile site, point-of-sale materials and coupon offerings. The updated packaging design will feature a quick-response code with a mobile app that links consumers to recipes and tips, shopping lists, Facebook and further information about Everfresh.

Mastronardi offers Sweet Twister pepper

Mastronardi Produce, Kingsville, Ontario, has introduced the Sweet Twister, a long, orange sweet pepper, similar to its Ancient Sweets variety. The company touts the pepper as supersweet, containing few seeds and having no bitter aftertaste.

“The response at United (Fresh 2012 has been) amazing — people love it, how sweet it is and no aftertaste,” said Nancy Pickersgill, events and communications manager. “We hope it’s going to be available everywhere.”

Also new this year, Mastronardi offers a reusable produce bag for the retail market. The cloth bag will be sold with peppers inside and can be stored in refrigerator crisper drawers and reused by the consumer.

“Being environmentally friendly is something that consumers look for, and having something that could be reused is a positive,” Pickersgill said.

Nature Fresh to try out 80 pepper varieties

Nature Fresh Farms, Leamington, Ontario, again will conduct more than 80 pepper variety trials and more than 60 beefsteak tomato variety trials this year.

This information is shared with seed companies to help select up-and-coming varieties.

“Because of these trials, we’re always a little ahead of the curve when it comes to new, exciting varieties,” said Peter Quiring, president.

Oppenheimer uses carbon capture system

Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group’s pepper partner SunSelect, along with its sister company ProSelect Gas Treating, has unveiled a new carbon capture system called GC6.

Carbon capture is a clean energy technology that aims to prevent the release of large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and this system has a unique application to greenhouse produce production, said Aaron Quon, greenhouse category director at The Oppenheimer Group.

GC6 has made it possible for the carbon dioxide produced in the greenhouse heating process to be converted into fertilizer for the pepper plants.

Now employed on 40 acres under glass at SunSelect, GC6 is the first carbon capture system designed specifically for the greenhouse industry, Quon said.

Prime Time hires packing director

Coachella, Calif.-based Prime Time International recently added two new faces: Jack Schmidt, director of packing operations, and Orlando Gracia, harvesting and field operations. Both joined within the last year.

“They are bringing good expertise to our company,” said Mike Aiton, director of marketing.

Wiers Farm expands packing facility

Wiers Farm in Willard, Ohio, added extensions to its packing facility to allow space for a recently purchased 60-foot hydrocooler that will add two and a half times the production, said Ben Wiers, vice president of operations.

“This is so we can continue to increase over the coming years with different products,” he added.