Andrew & Williamson joins ranks of Fair Trade-certified

San Diego-based Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce has launched a number of initiatives, said John King, vice president of sales.

California Baja Tomatoes business updatesThe company’s farm in Baja California now is Fair Trade-certified, so any of the products from the farm can be marketed as Fair Trade items, he said.

“It’s a great way for retailers to connect with the values of their shoppers if (Fair Trade) is important to them,” he said.

An in-depth audit is required to earn the certification, which Andrew & Williamson received last fall, King said.

“It continues to build momentum,” he added.

The company also has launched new dome-style packaging for its snacking tomato line, which includes red grape tomatoes, golden grape tomatoes, red cherry tomatoes and organic red grape tomatoes. There’s also a mixed medley containing red grape, red cherry and golden grape tomatoes.

The program began during the winter with limited volume.

“As we launch our Baja tomato program in the spring, we’ll have expanded volume available on all the different (stock-keeping units),” King said.

The company also is expanding its organic grape and organic snacking tomato line.


Deardorff focuses on Tasti Lee tomatoes

The Tasti Lee variety remains the main focus of the conventional tomato program at Deardorff Family Farms in Oxnard, Calif., said president Tom Deardorff. This will be the third season the company has had full production of the Tasti Lee, which is performing well at retail, he said.

But availability can fluctuate from season to season, so he said the firm still is trying to figure out the best ways to coordinate year-round supplies to meet demand in a more steady way.


DiMare beefs up packing lines

The DiMare Co., Newman, Calif., has made improvements to its roma packing line in Newman and its mature-green tomato and roma lines in Indio, Calif., said Jeff Dolan, field operations manager. The company has added new sizers that should help the firm put up a better pack. “We’re always looking to make improvements,” Dolan said.


Expo Fresh now in 100% protected production

For the first time, all the Baja California tomatoes — round, roma, cherry and grape varieties — from Expo Fresh LLC, San Diego, will be grown in shade houses this season, said Bob Schachtel, sales manager.

Expo Fresh also plans to launch a website this summer that will include photos and information about its products, Schachtel said.


Houweling’s breaks ground for Utah farm

Delta, British Columbia-based Houweling’s Tomatoes, which has a greenhouse operation in Camarillo, Calif., has broken ground on a new site in Mona, Utah, said David Bell, chief marketing officer.

The new greenhouse farm will use the patented Ultra Clima greenhouse system built by Kubo of Holland and will be “a crown jewel of sustainable agriculture in the U.S.,” he said.

The first phase of 28 acres will include supplemental lighting, allowing for year-round growing and harvesting.