KINGSVILLE, Ontario — With the help of a new facility in Courtright, Mastronardi Produce should be into Ontario peppers much earlier than usual.
Dubbed Envirofresh, the new 25-acre facility should be more than 100 acres when it’s finished.
The first phase, though, is up and running for this season, with peppers already in production by February.
“We’ll probably be the earliest Canadian greenhouse to pick peppers ever,” said Paul Mastronardi, executive vice president.
The new facility, which is being built by South Essex Fabricating Inc., will fit right in with Mastronardi’s Green Grass Project, meaning it will be built to operate as environmentally sustainable as possible, Mastronardi said.
The company is planning to start construction on another phase this year.
“Envirofresh changes the growing window,” Mastronardi said. “It speeds up the cycle slightly because of its heat.”
The rest of the company’s peppers, grown in the Leamington-Kingsville area, should start in March.
The company is planning a ribbon cutting for Envirofresh on Earth Day, April 22.
Along with a new facility, Mastronardi Produce is working on some new products for the coming year.
The company plans to launch a mini Kumato tomato, which will be brown in color like the full-sized Kumato but with the size of a grape tomato.
Extending another one of its brand names, Mastronardi is also launching a One Sweet pepper, a bite-sized sweet pepper.
The company currently carries One Sweet tomatoes, bite-sized, super sweet tomatoes.
The company is noticing more consumers are looking for a brand behind their tomatoes, said Chris Veillon, director of marketing.