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Red Zoo says bankruptcy not in its plans

by Christina DiMartino | May 12, 2009
While some industry news sources reported the first week of May that Red Zoo Marketing, a producer and shipper of greenhouse vegetables, had already -- or had plans -- to file for bankruptcy, Jay Colasanti, president and co-owner of the Kingsville, ON-based firm, told The Produce News that filing for bankruptcy protection is not currently in the company's plans.

"Our intentions are not to file for bankruptcy," Mr. Colasanti told The Produce News May 12. We have, however, ceased functioning in normal trade. We are not producing, sourcing from grower-partners or marketing at the moment. We are looking to work with our banks to satisfy our covenants and to get our financial indebtedness reorganized.

Mr. Colasanti added that Red Zoo is treating its current financial situation as a stoppage in business.

We look at it as a need to get ourselves restructured into a better position, he said. We do not want to create more problems by continuing our business processes until our current issues are settled.

Alex Colasanti, an Italian emigrant, started farming in Ruthven, ON, in 1942. In 1945, the first greenhouse was erected on the farm. Colasanti Farms remains on the site today, and it continues to be family owned and operated.

In 1991, Jay Colasanti and Cliff Robinson began a partnership, Performance Produce. Throughout the 1990s, Performance Produce grew into a premier shipper of quality produce. By 2000, Performance Produce had evolved into Red Zoo.

Red Zoo is a producer and shipper of greenhouse-grown tomatoes on the vine, beefsteak tomatoes, colored bell peppers and seedless cucumbers. Its specialty line comprises Amorosa baby cocktail tomatoes, BaBee mini cucumbers and GrapeRoma grape tomatoes. The company ships under Red Moose, Red Bear, Cukeadile, Red Deer, Gold Eagle and Baron Brand labels.

Fred Webber, vice president of trading assistance for the Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp., a non-profit organization of produce and transportation companies from the three NAFTA countries, located in Ottawa, ON, said that the DRC is investigating the situation but we cannot comment until we confer with our members.