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To-Jo launching new ‘Swapper’ meatball product at Southern Exposure

“We are looking forward to the Southern Exposure event again this year,” Paul Frederic, senior vice president of sales and marketing for To-Jo Mushrooms Inc. in Avondale, PA, told The Produce News.

“Our comprehensive line of fresh and prepared mushrooms will be showcased, and we’ll be promoting a new protein-type item that we are particularly excited about: a mushroom meatball.”

west-petrovick-colorJulie West PetrovickMr. Frederic said that the new item is labeled “Swapper,” in keeping with the Mushroom Council’s current promotional initiative — “Swapability” that encourages people to swap a portion of meat in their recipes with mushrooms. The “Swapper” is 40 percent mushrooms.

To-Jo Mushrooms handles an extensive line of fresh white, brown and specialty mushrooms. The company is a fourth generation family-owned and operated mushroom farm. It also offers a wide assortment of prepared mushroom products for both the retail and foodservice industries.

In early December, To-Jo Mushrooms announced that it had entered its 133-acre farm site located in Elk Township, Chester County, PA, into the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.

Chester County Commissioners and the Chester County Agricultural Land Preservation Board have preserved 29,834 acres of farmland throughout the county.

The To-Jo farm site is the 343rd to enter into the programs for farmland preservation and the 91st to enter into the Challenge Grant Easement Purchase Program by selling the development rights.

Anthony D’Amico, president of To-Jo Mushrooms, said in a press release, “It has been very satisfying to know that we have preserved our farm for agriculture and preserved a piece of Chester County heritage for future generations. The property will be the future site of a state of the art mushroom farm that our company will undertake in the coming years.”

To-Jo Mushrooms will be exhibiting at booth number 523 at the Southern Exposure Retail & Foodservice Conference & Expo.

In addition to Mr. Frederic and Mr. D’Amico, staff members in attendance will include Michael Wood, senior vice president of sales and marketing, foodservice division, and Julie West Petrovick, the newly hired director of marketing.

Ms. Petrovick joined To-Jo Mushrooms on Jan. 31. In her new role, she will be responsible for the development and implementation of innovative marketing strategies for both the fresh and food products divisions of the company.

She will also be responsible for the company’s in-house creative services initiatives. Prior to joining To-Jo, Ms. Petrovick was the senior sales coordinator for Modern Mushroom Sales Co.

“We have been members of the Southeast Produce Council for at least a decade,” said Mr. Frederic.

“And we’ve been exhibiting at Southern Exposure for the past five years,” he continued. “We have always availed ourselves to the outstanding educational programs offered at the expo. Networking, relationships and building new prospective customers are all a part of this terrific show. It’s a great venue at a great time of year. Everything about it makes it one of our favorite trade shows.”

He added that To-Jo Mushroom staff members will also be enjoying the social activities, such as the opening gala and the farewell reception.

“To-Jo is one of the sponsors of the opening gala party,” Mr. Frederic noted. “Sponsorship entitles us to receive event signage, a listing in the conference brochure, an invitation to the Sponsor’s VIP Reception and recognition at the opening gala.”

The company is gearing up for some major production increases. “We have leased 13 new growing rooms in the past month that will be brought into the To-Jo fold,” said Mr. Frederic. “The rooms will be used to expand our production of white and brown mushrooms.”