What began as the Heinz company picnic has evolved over the years into an iconic festival for the entire community.
Now in the festival’s 31st year, Sunset has been chosen to continue the local tradition. The new partnership will begin Aug. 15 with the inaugural Leamington Sunset Tomato Fest.
|Mike Ciacelli, at left, with Paul Mastronardi.
“We wanted to make sure something as iconic as the Tomato Fest remained locally sponsored and locally run. Right now our community needs as much support as possible.”
Every summer, residents of Leamington and the surrounding area get together to celebrate the local tomato harvest by hosting live entertainment, a tomato stomp, and many family friendly activities.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better sponsor,” said Ciacelli. “It’s been a tough year for everyone but having strong leaders in the community really pushes us forward.”
As a Leamington native, Sunset CEO Paul Mastronardi knows all too well how the Heinz closure is affecting the community.
“My grandfather worked for Heinz for a number of years and many of our employees have close ties to the company. Leamington is a small but strong community and we want to show our support in any way we can.”
CELEBRATING 60 YEARS AS A GREENHOUSE COMPANY
This year, Mastronardi Produce/Sunset has been celebrating their small town roots in honor of their 60th anniversary as a greenhouse company.
What began as a small greenhouse on Oak Street is now one of the leading greenhouse companies, growing tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers year round for flavour lovers across the world.
For the past five years, Mastronardi Produce has been nationally recognized as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies for their innovative business practices and growing success.
“My great grandfather emigrated from Italy back in the 1920s looking for a better life,” continued Mastronardi.
“Leamington has been my family’s home since then and has provided us with a world of opportunity. It’s a great place to live and this is just a small way we can continue giving back to our community and our family.”
SIGNIFICANT COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
The company is already involved in the community, sponsoring a number of schools to provide healthy snacks for students throughout the school year.
Mastronardi Produce is also proud to be Leamington’s biggest MS Society supporter, leading the fundraising since joining in 2004.
“The Mastronardi family has called Leamington home for five generations,” continued Ciacelli. “They’re now leading the tomato industry in North America and we couldn’t be more proud to have them as our sponsor. With the recent closure of Heinz, this is definitely positive news.”
As for the new festival name?
“I love it,” smiled Ciacelli. “It works perfectly because Leamington has some pretty beautiful sunsets.”
This year’s Leamington Sunset Tomato Festival will be held Aug. 15-17 at Seacliff Park. For more information, visit leamingtontomatofestival.com.