Hero burgers uses greenhouse tomatoes

Ontario Greenhouse Produce business updatesWhen officials with Toronto-based Hero Certified Burgers went looking for a tomato to top their free-range, 100% angus beef burgers, they found what they wanted in the greenhouses of Ontario.

Now all 49 Ontario locations of the fast-food chain are using greenhouse tomatoes grown by members of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association, according to chain and association officials.

Elements involved in the decision to go with the Ontario greenhouse tomatoes included sustainability, taste, year-round availability and food safety programs, according to a news release from Hero Certified Burgers.

“We look forward to working with other foodservice partners,” greenhouse association board chairman Don Taylor said in a news release.

“In a competitive market, these new partnerships that expand and support our produce in the foodservice marketplace will help sustain Ontario agriculture and our Ontario greenhouse vegetable farmers.”

George Gilvesy, general manager of the association, said the Ontario greenhouse growers and burger chain developed their mutually beneficial relationship in part with the help of the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program, which is part of the Agricultural Adaptation Council.


Ontario group hires marketing coordinator

Ontario Greenhouse Produce business updatesAshlyn Bird has joined the staff of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association, Leamington, as marketing and communications coordinator.

Her job with the association will include being the primary staff resource to the group’s marketing committee, according to George Gilvesy, association general manager.

The association’s promotion of the region’s almost year-round availability of cucumbers for local retailers is one example of the programs Bird will help execute.

Bird earned an honors bachelor’s degree of commerce at the University of Windsor and a master’s degree in business administration.

Before joining the association staff, Bird worked for two years in business consulting and project management.


Mastronardi succeeds with Angel Sweets

Marketed by Mastronardi Produce as “miraculously sweet,” Angel Sweet grape tomatoes under the Sunset brand have become one of the company’s fastest growing tomato brands since they were launched in 2012.

Chief executive officer of the Kingsville, Ontario-based company, Paul Mastronardi, said in a news release that sales of Angel Sweet tomatoes “skyrocketed” from 2012-13, and he sees no end in sight to their rising popularity.

Sales have been so good the greenhouse grower-shipper is increasing the number of acres it has for the sweet grape tomatoes, according to the release.

Mastronari said in the release that the new crop of Angel Sweets is anticipated in March.

Children in particular like to snack on the small sweet tomatoes, but they are equally popular with consumers of all ages, he said in the release.


Mucci offers stackable packs of tomatoes

Designed with retailers and consumers in mind, new top-seal, stackable plastic containers for specialty tomatoes and cucumbers will be available in April from Mucci Farms, Kingsville, Ontario.

Joe Spano, vice president for sales and marketing, said the 1-pint containers allow consumers to see the produce while giving retailers more display options.

“We already have retailers ordering them,” Spano said. “We got great response on these when we showed them at PMA (Fresh Summit, Oct. 18-20 in New Orleans).”

The containers can be stacked vertically or horizontally to fit a variety of retail display spaces. They will be used for cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes and mini cucumbers.