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Westmoreland Sales in height of Ontario season with great quality

Ken Green, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Westmoreland Sales in Leamington, ON, told The Produce News that the company produces tomatoes on-the-vine, beefsteak tomatoes, English cucumbers, mini cucumbers, peppers and specialty tomatoes in its Ontario greenhouse facility.

“Cucumbers are produced year round in Ontario,” said Mr. Green. “All other items from Ontario run from every early spring through late fall.

“During Ontario’s off season, we work with our grower-partners in Mexico in order to offer year-round supplies of every item that we carry,” he added.

Mr. Green said that Mexican greenhouse growers continually increase the number of complexes they have.

“The transition in Mexico is moving from field farming to protected greenhouses,” he said, “and the percent of growth in this area is phenomenal.”

Westmoreland Sales uses the “TopLine” label on all of its greenhouse produce items.

As a company, Westmoreland is dedicated to sustainability in every area of its operations. Mr. Green said tjat as long as there is demand for packaging, there will be a drive to reduce waste materials. In its efforts to become more environmentally sustainable, the company has switched back to Kraft board because it is less harmful to the environment. By doing so, it no longer requires toxic inks or bleaches in its paper packaging. It also lowers the square footage of corrugate needed by utilizing machine-made cartons instead of conventional hand-assembled boxes. The system saves forestry resources and results in less waste in landfills, he said.

Westmoreland reduces the amount of polluting fossil fuels, such as coal, from being burnt. Its greenhouses effectively manage the energy used by storing it as heat for later use during cool nights.

The company is fully committed to food safety, Mr. green said. Its Food Safety Management System, referred to as FSMS, involves a systematic risk assessment of potential food-safety hazards throughout all stages of the food chain. Its food-safety program is monitored and audited by certified third-party firms. The products it supplies are in full compliance with the standards and procedures set under Good Agricultural Practices, or GAP.

The “TopLine” brand integrity begins with premium non-genetically modified organisms, seedlings grown in nutrient-rich water solution instead of soil. Westmoreland’s greenhouses utilize integrated pest management, commonly called IPM, where good bugs are introduced to eat bad bugs.

Westmoreland Sales’ product recall and traceability program is electronically maintained through a real-time inventory system to rapidly identify, locate and control potentially tainted product. It routinely performs mock recall tests to verify the effectiveness of the program.

“Our customer profile is in all categories,” said Mr. Green. “But the majority of our customers are large and small retailers, some foodservice operators and terminal markets.”