Eatontown, N.J.-based Village Farms expects to double its sales in the next five years, said Doug Kling, chief sales and marketing officer.


The growth will be achieved through a combination of higher yields in existing greenhouses and new greenhouses coming on line, Kling said.


Robust growth in the category industrywide made this a good time for Village Farms to chart such an aggressive growth curve, he said.


The advantages of switching from field-grown to greenhouse-grown are appealing to more and more growers and customers, Kling said.


Take water.


“Water conservation is going to be very critical moving forward,” Kling said.


Growing tomatoes in a greenhouse takes 87% less water than growing tomatoes in a field does, Kling said.


As many tomatoes can be grown in a 50-acre greenhouse as on a 1,500-acre farm, said Helen Aquino, Village Farms’s marketing manager.


And there’s no soil erosion, she said.


Much of the growth will be in new tomato varieties, Kling said. The company is trialing several exclusive varieties. In six months to a year, it could go public with some of them, he said.


Helping the Village Farms staff work toward that ambitious growth goal will be Debi Street, who joined the company in January, Aquino said.


As manager of innovation and development, a newly-created position at the company, Street will work on finding new varieties, among other tasks, Kling said.
 
Village also is increasing volumes in its pepper category and in its Texas-grown cucumber program, Kling said.