Helen L. Aquino, marketing manager for Village Farms, a leading greenhouse vegetable growing operation with U.S. headquarters in Eatontown, NJ, said that the company will be represented at the 2013 Canadian Produce Marketing Association Convention & Trade Show in Toronto April 17-19 at Booth 1300. In addition to Ms. Aquino, representatives from the company who will be at the show include Rob Jackson, regional director retail sales, Tony Cho, Vancouver regional sales manager, and Andrew Sable, British Columbia gatekeeper.
“We will be featuring our two new exclusive varieties,” said Ms. Aquino. “Our Heavenly Villagio Marzano and Exquisite Heirloom varieties from our ‘Olde World Flavor’ collection.”
The Heavenly Villagio Marzano is a mini San Marzano tomato. The Exquisite Heirloom is a pleated beefsteak tomato. Both offer outstanding flavor and uniqueness that would grace any tomato plate presentation.
Village Farms has over 70 greenhouse items in trial and development, most of which are on an exclusive basis with its global seed partners and geneticists. The trials include eggplants, which are more unique to greenhouse environments.
The company’s greenhouses are located in Marfa, Fort Davis and Monahans, TX, and in Delta, BC.
At its Texas facilities — with the exception of a four-week period in Marfa and Fort Davis — Village Farms’ greenhouses operate 365 days a year. The BC operation is active from late February through mid-December, determined by weather and light conditions.
Ms. Aquino said that the company uses integrated pest management to combat bugs.
“We do not use herbicides, we recycle water five times and we use less land to grow more food,” she said. “These practices make our operations highly environmentally and economically efficient,” she continued. “Our variety development has always been focused on creating consistent-quality vine-ripened products with the highest level of food safety that are delivered fresh to our retail customers 365 days a year. What truly sets us apart within the niche market of high-tech hydroponic growers is our focus on flavor.”
Village Farms’ customers are located across Canada and the United States, and it is expanding its export markets. Its primary customer focus is on the fresh retail side, with inroads in upscale foodservice operators and restaurant clients.
Ms. Aquino added that the company has seen a fantastic response to its “Olde World Flavor” collection, which was launched at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in October 2012.
“Our new packaging concepts, including our new trademarked variety names, were launched at the 2011 Fresh Summit, and these too continue to be well received,” she said. “We will have more exciting developments in 2013 that will link consumer desire for healthy snacking and easy meal planning options.”
Douglas Kling, senior vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for Village Farms, said that the PMA Fresh Summit and the CPMA expo both offer the company an opportunity to meet with customers at different times of the year.
“The benefit of being at CPMA is that we have items just coming into season in British Columbia for the new crop cycle, so the timing works well to reconnect with our retail and institutional partners,” said Mr. Kling. “As one of the largest owner-operated growers and marketers of premium greenhouse products in Canada, we are excited about showcasing the benefits of fresh natural premium British Columbia greenhouse products.”
Ms. Aquino added, “All of our Canadian customers attend this show — from retailers to foodservice to wholesale accounts. The CPMA expo is the premier show in Canada for fresh produce.”