Several greenhouse vegetable growers are expanding pepper programs this year.

The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, expects big things for its 2013 greenhouse pepper program, said Aaron Quon, the company’s greenhouse and vegetable category director.

Oppenheimer plans to market peppers grown under glass on more than 110 acres under the SunSelect brand, thanks to a partnership the company made with longtime grower-partner SunSelect Produce, Aldergrove, British Columbia, and Oppenheimer newcomer Randhawa Farms, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Quon said.

The growers plan to market exclusively through Oppenheimer in 2013, he said.

“We are very excited about our sweet bell pepper program,” Quon said. “We anticipate over 2.3 million boxes of top-quality peppers from Canada — thanks to the disciplined SunSelect growing processes — complemented by the highly popular Fair Trade-certified program from Divemex.”


New mini peppers

Mucci Farms, Kingsville, Ontario, has a new mini pointed pepper for 2013, said Joe Spano, vice president of sales and marketing.

Sweet to the Point peppers, which should be available in mid-April, complement the company’s mini blocky-shaped pepper program, Spano said.

The taste of the pointed mini is similar to the blocky one, Spano said. The difference, he projected, will come in how they are used.

“Dipping, cooking, salads — it depends on the need,” he said. “They’re both very sweet, snack-sized, high in vitamin C.”

Sweet to the Point adds to Mucci’s already extensive line of miniature greenhouse vegetables, Spano said.

“Our whole mini line is somewhat unique,” he said. “We have peppers, cukes, cocktails, everything.”

Langley, British Columbia-based BC Hot House Foods Inc. expects to increase its production by 13% this year.

One of the main reasons is an increase in its colored bell production, said Mike Reed, the company’s president.

Eatontown, N.J.-based Village Farms LP is seeing some growth in its red, yellow and orange bell pepper programs, said Doug Kling, the company’s chief sales and marketing officer.

The company doesn’t sell mini sweets, but that could change one day.

“We’re looking at it, but you can’t be a jack of all trades, master of none,” he said. “It is a category that seems to be doing very well.”

Mike Aiton, marketing director at Prime Time International, Coachella, Calif., said his company grows both regular colored bell peppers and mini sweets at its greenhouse facilities in Coachella and mainland Mexico.

Fortunately, Aiton said, the growing popularity of minis hasn’t come at the expense of their bigger siblings.

“It seems to be new business for us,” Aiton said of Prime Time’s mini program. “The minis are additional volume. They’re not taking the place of (regular-sized bells).”