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Westmoreland-TopLine Farms introduces new greenhouse Roma tomato

Westmoreland-TopLine Farms is a grower-owned company in Leamington, ON, that is family-owned and family-run. Jimmy Copploa, account marketing manager for the company, said those involved work hand-in-hand with its greenhouses in order to properly forecast production and get the information to its retail partners so they can properly set promotions in place to keep the movement steady.  

“Within our greenhouses, you’ll find all the staple items such as beefsteak, cluster and roma tomatoes, seedless cucumbers and mini seedless cucumbers and Bell peppers,” he said. “You’ll also find a long line of specialty items such as baby eggplant, grape, cherry, cocktail, chocolate, heirloom and long red San Marzano styles roma tomatoes, cocktail snacking cucumbers and mini sweet peppers.”

Additionally, the greenhouses boast an organics department, which offers organic cluster, beefsteak and grape tomatoes, organic seedless cucumbers and organic mini cucumbers. Organic mini peppers and organic peppers will soon be added to the mix as well.

“As long as we continue to offer the most flavorful varieties of produce, continue to innovate within the greenhouses and crops alike, and focus on consistent high-quality products and services success is sure to follow,” Copploa said. “Specialty items, which tend to be more convenient, seem to be a consistent trend within the greenhouses.”

In 2018, the crops are looking solid and the product is looking great. Copploa said that consumers should continue to expect high-quality flavor produce because that is what they will get.

Increases in operating costs seem to be the biggest challenges facing greenhouse growing today, from increased energy costs to increased labor costs.

“You’ll see more automation within the greenhouses and packing facilities to offset the increased labor costs and more innovation to the greenhouse structures,” he said. “For example, better greenhouse glass, which can help reflect light to better shade curtains, which would help retain heat and reduce energy loss.”

The biggest news at Westmoreland is the introduction of its new Long Red San Marzano style greenhouse roma tomato, with its unique San Marzano style shape, and also some new acreage that is under construction.

“A large parcel of land was purchased and will undergo a three-phase construction project,” Copploa said. “The first phase will consist of a new 25-acre high-tech greenhouse operation and warehousing facility in the heart of the Leamington, ON, growing region and will be in production in early 2019.”

The company is also looking to utilize more recyclable products within its packaging and is concentrating some efforts on that in 2018. That, Copploa noted, could also be a help to retailers marketing the greenhouse-grown produce.

“I think retailers are doing a great job merchandising greenhouse product with flavor profiles on par or better than field-grown product,” Copploa said. “With consistent safe/high-quality produce, it shouldn’t be too hard to merchandise.”