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Mucci Farms returning to N.Y. Produce Show after successful first year

A new greenhouse under construction, which will add to Mucci Farms’ production acreage.

Joe Spano, vice president of sales for Mucci Farms, a leading producer of greenhouse vegetables in Leamington, ON, told The Produce News that he personally was unable to attend last year’s New York Produce Show & Conference, but the company did exhibit at the show.

“Our people said that it was a good experience,” said Mr. Spano. “There was a lot of traffic, and customers were looking for information. The show itself was a little crowded. People like going to New York City, and overall we were very happy with the results.”

The company is exhibiting again this year and will be at Booth 321. Mr. Spano said that the show gives Mucci Farms representatives an opportunity to sit down and have meetings with customers that they do not often see. Rather than joining in on the tours offered by the show, the company uses the opportunity to visit stores in the area.

“We will be featuring a couple of our new cocktail items at the show,” said Mr. Spano. “One, our hothouse grape tomato that we label ‘Sun Drop,’ is one of the sweetest — if not the sweetest — grape tomatoes on the market. It won the New Produce Award at the United Fresh 2011 Convention in May, and we continue to feature the item. We’re also featuring our ‘Cute-Cumber,’ a mini-size cucumber that is even smaller than a mini cucumber. These bite-sized products are extremely well suited to the New York region where people are known for busy lifestyles and their need for on-the-go food products.”

The company launched its new branding initiative at the 2010 Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit event, and Mr. Spano said that it has enjoyed a tremendous response. “We wanted a new, fresh look that spoke ‘green,’ backyard farm’ and ‘down to earth,’” he explained. “We’ve been known as Mucci Pak for many years, and while it is still the official company name, we rebranded our logo under ‘Mucci Farms.’ We’ve received nothing but compliments about the rebranding, and it is working well with the local trend. We want people to know that we are growers, and the name clearly sends out this message.”

Mucci Farms is among the leading owners of greenhouses in Ontario with 120 acres of its own facilities, and it is currently adding an additional 15 acres. Mr. Spano said that another 20 acres are planned for construction in the spring of 2012. The company markets between 350 acres and 400 acres worth of greenhouse products in Canada alone. It also has greenhouse operations in Mexico, Holland, Spain and as of this year, in Guatemala.

“Product from these areas is helping to fill our year-round demand,” said Mr. Spano. “We move from one to another as the best-quality product becomes available in order to ensure that our customers get only the best.”

Mucci Farms recently hired two new key employees. “Emily Murracas is our new marketing coordinator,” said Mr. Spano. “She joined us on August 11. Emily previously owned her own custom-stationery business, and prior to that, she was in marketing for a custom home-building company. She just pulled off a fantastic PMA Fresh Summit for us, and we know that she will be a valuable member of our staff in the future.

“Charlie Hangfu has been with us for nine weeks,” he continued. “He is our new director of operations. Charlie is helping to streamline our facilities and working toward increasing our efficiencies. He comes from an educational background, but he also has experience in the produce industry.”

Mr. Spano said that the company is looking forward to the New York Produce Show. “The timing of the show is somewhat difficult, particularly being right after the PMA Fresh Summit,” he said. “Nonetheless, we are looking forward to meeting with our customers and introducing new ones to our line of high-quality greenhouse produce.”