Pure Hothouse Foods is making progress on its 75-acre greenhouse complex in Peach County, Ga. ( Courtesy Pure Hothouse Foods )

NatureFresh boosts acreage

Leamington, Ontario-based NatureFresh Farms is expanding greenhouse acreage.

Construction of a 32-acre greenhouse facility will begin this summer, with production scheduled to begin in 2019, John Ketler, general manager of NatureFresh Farms, said in a news release.

The new greenhouse, when completed, will give the company more than 90 acres of tomatoes. The facility will produce a range of varieties and use supplemental lighting to enable year-round production of Canadian tomatoes, according to the release.

With the new capacity, NatureFresh Farms will increase tomato production in 2019, according to the release. The facility will grow Tomz snacking tomatoes, tomatoes on the vine and beefsteak tomatoes.

NatureFresh Farms expanded its greenhouse production into the U.S. in 2015 with a 45-acre facility in Delta, Ohio.

That facility grows tomatoes with lighting that enables year-round production, according to the release, and the new Ontario greenhouse will also have that technology and other innovations.


Oppy expects steady supply

Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group expects consistent greenhouse vegetable supply from the company’s growers based in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, said Aaron Quon, executive greenhouse category director.

“We’re excited to complement our existing product mix with the Frank & Able tomatoes on the vine as we move into the Canadian season this spring,” Quon said.

In addition, he said Origin Organic Farms will shift to produce more cucumbers and sweet bells this year.

 Organic volume will be up for Oppy this year, he said.

With the addition of the sweet bell and mini peppers grown in Divemex’s new 100% organic greenhouse in Ahualulco, Oppy’s organic offerings have increased substantially, he said. More than 40% of Divemex’s production is organic and Fair Trade Certified.

Quon said the company offers new top seal pints this season, in addition to the existing options of bulk, clamshell and jar bags.


Pure Hothouse builds capacity

Pure Hothouse Foods, marketer of Pure Flavor produce, continues to add capacity to meet increasing demand from retail and foodservice customers, said Chris Veillon, chief marketing officer for Pure Hothouse Foods, Leamington, Ontario. 

Pure Flavor grows its own vegetables and sources greenhouse-grown vegetables from its network of growers in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, he said.

The company broke ground in September 2017 on a 75-acre greenhouse project in Georgia that will be built in three phases of 25 acres.

Veillon said Phase 1 is now well underway and will be completed by late summer. Pure Flavor is an accredited member of the State of Georgia’s agricultural marketing program Georgia Grown, he said.

Pure Flavor is going through a complete packaging and brand refresh, Veillon said.

“We spent a great deal of time and effort building our new packaging strategy. It wasn’t just about correcting what we didn’t like in the current packaging”, Veillon said.

A new website will be launched in late spring, he said, and all social channels have been refocused as well to contain more consumer engaging content.

Pure Flavor increased its organic capacity again this year, he said.

“The demand for organics is increasing year over year and we do not see this stopping at any point,” Veillon said.


Red Sun expands organics

Red Sun Farms is expanding its organic greenhouse offerings in 2018, according to Harold Paivarinta, senior director of sales and business development for the Kingsville, Ontario-based firm.

“Every year we are seeing a growth in our organic commodities, most notably in our organic grape tomatoes, cucumbers, mini cukes and tomatoes on the vine,” he said.

Paivarinta said the company is shifting production acreage away from highly commoditized items into the company’s Artisan Series, he said. The company has greenhouses in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, he said.

“We have consistently expanded our properties in Mexico and have goals to expand in our other production areas very soon,” Paivarinta said.


SunFed diversifies supplies

SunFed continues to expand its production grown in protected environments both in total surface area planted and in the number of growing locations, said Matt Mandel, vice president of operations for Rio Rico, Ariz.-based SunFed.

Moving all of its field-grown cucumbers and green bell peppers to protected agriculture, the company has increased its acreage in protected environment agriculture at the same time it has cut its open-field acreage. The company offers a range of options, including tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant and cucumbers.

“Our tag line is ‘Perfect Produce’ and that’s a pretty high bar, and focusing on quality is the only way we are going to hit that mark.”

The company operates in more than 40 growing locations in 15 Mexican states, he said. The company, with all of its volume from Mexico, also has increased the number of organic items it carries on a year-round basis.

Mandel said SunFed has expanded use of its modified atmosphere/modified humidity packaging beyond bulk backs to consumer packs, including a line of organic packs carried by a select group of retailers.

“The results have exceeded our expectations and have grown faster than anticipated,” he said.