Nancy Pickersgill, marketing coordinator for Mastronardi Produce Ltd. in Leamington, ON, told The Produce News that the company is excited to promote some of its specialty tomatoes at this year’s Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference & Expo July 29-31 in Monterey, CA.
“We’ll be at booth number 32,” said Ms. Pickersgill. “We invite visitors to come check out our fresh look for our foodservice division. Dean Taylor, foodservice manager; Joe Sbrocchi, vice president of sales; Ken Silveira, president of Mastronardi Produce-West division; and Pam Cherwak, sales associate, will be managing our booth and be available for any questions.”
Mastronardi will be showcasing all its greenhouse gourmet vegetables and focusing on its “Sunset” branded peppers, cucumbers and numerous tomato varieties. “We continue to showcase our Zima grape tomato, the most flavorful tomato available that has gained us several awards,” said Ms. Pickersgill. “Most recently, the Zima won three awards at the Hottest Tomato Competition: People’s Choice Award, Best Overall Tomato and Best Hothouse Bite-size Tomato. As of this moment, the Zima tomato has won seven awards since being introduced only last fall.”
Ms. Pickersgill said that the Zima is best sampled fresh. The company plans to wash and cut some of its more popular and unique items to sample at the expo, including the Zima and the Kumato, a brown tomato.
Mastronardi Produce has recently expanded into the foodservice industry. Ms. Pickersgill said that currently only a small percentage of its business is in the sector, but it is growing at a much faster rate than other areas of its business.
“We have the capability and flexibility to work with anyone in the foodservice industry,” she said. “At the current time, we work primarily with broad-line foodservice distributors, chain restaurants, processors and ingredient users.”
The company ships its greenhouse products across North America and into Asia.
Ms. Cherwak is a recent addition to Mastronardi Produce’s sales team. “Pam joined the Mastronardi Fresh team as the foodservice division was expanding at Mastronardi,” Ms. Pickersgill explained. “She comes to us with several years of experience in the produce industry. She previously managed logistics for a mushroom grower.”
As an innovative company, Mastronardi Produce is always looking at ways to upgrade and improve its use of technology to be more efficient in packaging, logistics, sales and production.
In Leamington, “Our home farm infrastructure has experienced improvements to the sterilization, recirculation, and energy and production efficiencies this year,” said Ms. Pickersgill. “Our hope is to increasingly become aware of technological advancements while being conscious of the environment and applying both aspects to our business practices.”
The company will also be featuring its slicer beefsteak tomatoes at the PMA Foodservice expo. “These tomatoes are big and beautiful, and they are gaining a lot of attention from consumers at this time of year as a great accompaniment to burgers,” said Ms. Pickersgill. “We are also excited about our Delano tomatoes on-the-vine. These tomatoes are smaller than a traditional TOV, and they are packed with flavor. The Delano won The Best Hothouse Cluster Tomato at this year’s Hottest Tomato Competition.”