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Eurofresh Farms converts facility to cucumbers

by | October 18, 2010
Eurofresh Farms, a year-round producer and marketer of greenhouse-grown tomatoes and cucumbers based in Willcox, AZ, and Snowflake, AZ, has converted its Snowflake operations to produce cucumber varietals exclusively. More than 44 acres of long English cucumbers and mini-cucumbers will be grown and packaged in the town.

The company's $3.2 million renovation and cucumber focus has expanded the workforce by adding more than 100 full-time, year-round employees, who will help grow and package the cucumbers and oversee the greenhouse facilities. Currently, more than 315 people work at the Snowflake operation.

The multi-million dollar overhaul includes installation of a new packaging line, misting systems and additional investment in support of high-quality production and efficient packing.

"Snowflake provides an excellent growing climate for cucumbers, as the region experiences cooler summers than other parts of the state," Johan van den Berg, founder and chief executive officer of Eurofresh Farms, said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 8 at the Snowflake facility. “As the greenhouse-grown cucumber sector continues to experience increased consumer demand, we are excited about this growth opportunity and to continue our expansion here in northern Arizona.”

Mr. Van den Berg also said that the Snowflake operation allows for the cucumbers to be grown with a consistently flavorful quality. Consumer response has been very favorable, indicating the growing interest and demand in Eurofresh Farms’ produce varietals.

Eurofresh Farms’ executives originally opened the Snowflake operation in 2002 and have expanded the production area over the past eight years. Mr. Van den Berg said that the plan to convert the greenhouse to grow cucumbers exclusively has been part of the company’s long-term plan.

“We have always looked at the Snowflake facility as the future home of our cucumber production, but we’re proud to have reached the point where we could market the amount of product year round that the greenhouse and its staff are capable of producing,” he said in an Oct. 8 press release.

“Snowflake had a history of cucumber farming that dates back to the early 1940s, and our team at Eurofresh Farms is excited to restore this tradition back to the region,” David Leitch, general manager of Eurofresh Farms’ Snowflake operations, who has been overseeing the greenhouse conversion process since late 2009, added in the press release.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mr. Leitch honored former cucumber farmers and beauty queens, some of whom were in attendance, from the town’s cucumber festivals that were held years ago. Over the years, other crops such as sweet corn became more prominent throughout northern Arizona, and the cucumber industry’s regional production decreased. “Eurofresh Farms is proud to expand the region’s work force and to re- establish a traditional area crop,” Mr. Leitch concluded.