NatureSweet Ltd. is ahead of schedule in the transformation of greenhouses it purchased from EuroFresh Farms.
San Antonio-based NatureSweet is pulling out all of the tomatoes-on-the-vine and beefsteak acreage and most of the roma acreage in the former EuroFresh greenhouses, and replacing them with its Cherub, SunBurst, Glory and Cherriot brand tomatoes, said Bryant Ambelang, NatureSweet"s president.
NatureSweet bought bankrupt EuroFresh in April. Assets included 318 acres of greenhouses.
NatureSweet will still grow romas for a few customers, but the bulk of the acreage in the EuroFresh facility will be devoted to the company"s proprietary cocktail varieties.
The Willcox, Ariz., facility is the first in the U.S. to grow NatureSweet varieties, and thus far, Ambelang has been impressed.
"I can"t overemphasize how great they taste," he said.
It"s happened sooner than he anticipated.
"We didn"t know how long it would take to bring it up to scale," he said. "Our team did it in remarkable fashion. We made the investment in January, had full ownership by April and transitioned to NatureSweet quality by September."
Other than general maintenance, NatureSweet didn"t have to make major changes to the EuroFresh greenhouses.
"It"s a fantastic facility," Ambelang said.
Adding the EuroFresh acreage will help NatureSweet meet growing demand in the U.S. and Mexico and allow the company to expand into Canada, he said.