LEAMINGTON, Ontario — Retailers and consumers should keep an eye out this year for new products coming from Ontario’s greenhouse vegetable growers.

“We’re doing a little more of different kinds of cocktails, and little bit more red and some new varieties,” said Chris Mastronardi, sales manager for Double Diamond Acres Ltd., Kingsville.

The company is introducing a pink tomato this year, and is working on a trademarked name for it. It also has a new mini roma, Mastronardi said.

Double Diamond also has a new cherry tomato variety it’s trialing this year, he said.

“It will be up for production, but not a vast amount, like on some other varieties,” Mastronardi said.

Also new for Double Diamond is a new grape tomato variety and a mini cocktail, which will debut with new brand names by spring.

“We’re seeing increased demand in the last several years, the last couple especially, for different kinds of cocktail, cherry, grapes and mini cucumbers,” Mastronardi said.

The company is trialing about 50 varieties of greenhouse vegetables this year, Mastronardi said.

Kingsville-based Del Fresco Produce is marketing a new tomato this year, the Zebra tomato, along with four to five experimental varieties, said Carl Mastronardi, president.

With specialties, though, he warns that growers have to be cautious about flooding the market, and about being able to keep prices reasonable.

“Two years ago we planted yellow and orange tomatoes on-the-vine, and then last year everybody planted them,” Carl Mastronardi said. “There were so many, the market was flooded.”

Jem-D International is focusing its product development efforts on tomatoes, said Kyle Moynahan, sales.

“We’re always looking for the new great tomato, the tomato that tastes great and produces well,” Moynahan said.

Dino Dilaudo, sales manager for Westmoreland Sales, said the company continues to focus on research and development.

“We’re trialing new varieties of all commodities, looking for the highest flavor profile, best producing product,” Dilaudo said. “In general, we want to stay on the cutting edge there.”

Everyone in the Leamington area is continuously trialing different varieties, so the company does it to stay competitive, Dilaudo said.

Pure Hot House Foods Inc. has more than 23 new trial varieties across all its commodities this year, said Matt Mastronardi, vice president of sales and marketing.

“We just want to add some new excitement to the category,” said Jamie Moracci, president and co-owner. “We’re looking at some new items, some new vegetables that aren’t currently grown in greenhouses mainstream.”

The company is working with select retailers to test its new products, Moracci said.

Rather than developing new products in a struggling economy, Mark Slater, co-owner of Erie James Ltd., said the company is focusing on efficiency with existing products to keep costs low.

“With the way the economy is, we’re trying to focus on keeping our retail in line so people keep buying our products,” Slater said. “People are going to keep buying our product at a reasonable price, so we’re not trying to add a lot of cost.” 

(Note on correction: This story originally misclassified Jamie Moracci's position with Pure Hot House.)