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Canadian Florist

Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

Fruit and Vegetable

Kumato demand exceeding production
Written by Dave Harrison   
Oct. 8, 2009, Kingsville, Ont. – Having been introduced to the North American market just six months ago, consumers and retailers alike are showing great enthusiasm for Mastronardi’s new SUNSET® Kumato™ Brown Tomato, prompting the grower to increase its acreage for the variety next season.
sunset_kumato
 
Sunset Kumato™ Caprese Salad
PHOTO COURTESY MASTRONARDI PRODUCE/SUNSET®
 
“We are amazed at the attention that the Kumato tomato has been receiving since we shipped the first case back in April of this year,” says executive vice-president Paul Mastronardi. The Kumato has also seen great success in Western Europe for years. Mastronardi Produce Ltd. has quickly grown it into one of the leading specialty varieties this year.

With the Kumato tomato success, Mastronardi has already planned to increase its acreage significantly for next season. Currently grown at Mastronardi’s home farm in Kingsville, Ontario, the company will shift its production south for the winter season, making it available year-round. “We closely monitor the chatter on the Internet in the various chat rooms, blogs and websites and it is amazing to see how fast the Kumato story has spread with a cult-like following,” notes director of marketing Chris Veillon.

“Consumers are captivated by the uniqueness of the variety. We actually have people sending us e-mails from all over North America asking when the Kumato will be available in their area.” The Kumato Brown tomato also took home the People’s Choice Award and Best Specialty Tomato Award at the Greenhouse Capital of North America Awards in August.

Mastronardi showcased the variety as one of its key attractions at the recent Fresh Summit trade show of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA). The Mastronardi SUNSET Café again featured celebrity chef Kathy Casey. She has been working closely with the company in developing gourmet recipes for its greenhouse tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

Seattle-based Casey helped the company launch new recipes on the backs of all of its SUNSET labels this spring to help educate consumers on the potential uses of the various products. Capping off a busy summer, Mastronardi recently launched its new website, www.sunsetproduce.com, to rave reviews from consumers. “Our new website is an integral part of our marketing efforts as we embark on an aggressive consumer education program to explain the benefits of SUNSET brand produce,” Veillon explains.

“As consumers become more savvy with their purchases at the store level, they are looking for unique recipes and product information to use in their daily diets, to prepare for their families, and to share with their friends. Our new website highlights options other than just eating produce raw.”