Immokalee, Fla.-based Lipman is getting bigger, chief farming officer Gerry Odell says.

The company, which Odell said is North America’s largest open-field tomato grower, has increased farming acreage in California with its longtime partner, Sun Pacific Farming in Exeter.

“There will now be two packing locations,” he said, one in Exeter and another in Manteca.

“This puts Lipman in the top tier of California growers,” he said, and also means greater geographic diversity for the company, guaranteeing its ability to provide fresh produce year round to markets throughout the U.S.

“This partnership enforces Lipman’s mission to be North America’s leading source of refreshingly dependable tomatoes,” Odell said.

The Manteca location also houses a repack facility recently moved from Sacramento.

The move places Lipman’s repacking and first-handling facilities in the same location, ideally situated between two major highways — I-5 and I-99 — Odell said.

Sourcing from more farms in more areas enhances the company’s ability to support customers’ locally grown programs, he said.

In addition to farming, packing and repacking, Lipman makes a significant investment in research and development, Odell said, breeding hybrids suited for growing in different geographic regions.

“Lipman’s research and development team has been breeding tomato hybrids for California’s Central Valley for several years,” he said.

The company recently added a fulltime, California-based breeder to further this effort.