(Aug. 21) A partnership between two leading greenhouse grower-shippers is hoped to provide what many consumers in the retail and foodservice industries want — no off-season for vegetables.

BC Hot House Foods Inc., Surrey, British Columbia, and Village Farms LP, Eatontown, N.J., have teamed up to satisfy this request. Greenhouse vegetables that both companies produce will now be offered year-round.

The partnership will be based on supply, as both of the companies will keep their names and brands.

In addition to year-round demand, consolidation in the retail sector was a factor leading to the partnership, said Dawn Gray, vice president of marketing at BC Hot House.

While buyers are consolidating, she said shippers are staying independent. The partnership, therefore, will give retailers a large, one-source option when buying some types of produce.

“They can pick up the phone and make one call,” Gray said.

From a growing perspective, the partnership made sense, said David Smith, BC Hot House president and chief executive officer.

“This is the best way for us to approach the business,” he said. “They complement us from a geographic standpoint.”

Village Farms has its production zones in Texas, which has a different growing season than the Pacific Northwest for some vegetables. The two companies will be able to plan production around the seasons, Gray said.

Village Farms has a winter growing season, while BC Hot House does the majority of its growing in the summer, said Michael Minerva, vice president of commercial development at Village Farms.

BC Hot House’s season runs from March through November, and production at Village Farms is from September to June.

Although production will overlap, there will be two or three months each year when both companies will benefit from one another.

Smith said production and offices would stay separate for now.

For now, the companies are combining consumer research to better assess sales opportunities. Smith said database consolidation should provide a better snapshot of the market, thus lending new focus to advertising and promotions.