Chenail creates fleet of mobile billboards

Montreal wholesale company Chenail Fruits & Vegetables Inc. has purchased new trucks, each with graphics promoting a different fruit or vegetable.

"We’re using our trucks as mobile billboards to promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables," said buyer Pierre-Luc Desrosiers.

The back of each truck highlights Chenail’s foundation, Governors of Hope, established in 2002 to help kids with cancer and their parents.

GNC Farms creates gourmet brand

GNC Farms, St-Lin des Laurentides, Quebec, northeast of Montreal, has introduced a brand and a bag of gourmet colored beets for its Quebec and customers in the Eastern U.S.

Henri & Co., was chosen to tell consumers they’re buying from a local family farm, said Guillaume Henri, vice president of sales and marketing.

The first product in the new line, expected to grow over the next year, is a 2-pound bag of mild golden and pink chiogga beets in a clear stand-up plastic pouch.

"We wanted to give consumers a chance to try these specialty beets, which they’ve read about and seen on TV shows but haven’t been able to buy in Quebec until now," Henri said.

The colorful, medium-sized beets are available in several small stores to test the market, he said, and he’s already had interest from larger retailers.

Les Jardins Cousineau offers JC-label broccoli

Les Jardins Cousineau Inc., St-Constant, Quebec, can now offer JC-branded broccoli year-round to its Montreal customers, said Pierre Dolbec, director of development and marketing.

"We started our first harvest two months ago," said Dolbec.

Cousineau continues to grow crops in southern Ontario, he said, where Mother Nature was much kinder this summer than she was to Quebec growers.

The company is expanding its iceberg, red and leaf lettuce crops in Canada, he said. While iceberg is popular in Ontario, especially in foodservice, he said Quebecers prefer romaine, green leaf or butter lettuce.

To reassure retailers, Dolbec said all Cousineau’s facilities are now GlobalGAP-certified.

Veg Pro’s Florida plant goes year-round

Sherrington-based Veg Pro International Inc. is now running its plant in Belle Glade, Fla, 12 months a year.

For the first time this summer, the grower and packer of baby lettuces and popular Fresh Attitude salad kits was able to supply customers in Southeast U.S. directly from the plant, said executive vice president marketing Daniel Dufresne.

Veg Pro is also doubling the size of its Sherrington plant, Dufresne said. The project broke ground in late October and should be completed by spring.

"We expanded our capacity with new packaging lines a year ago," he said, "but we already need more capacity to meet our customers’ needs."

Veg Pro sells to Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada and down into the New York and Philadelphia areas.

"More consumers are finding out about our brand and our proximity," he said. "Because we’re close by, we can react quickly to customers’ needs."