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Flavor is key differentiator during tomato trialing process

The Canadian greenhouse season is in full swing. FreshPlaza visited with Village Farms at its Delta, BC location where 85 acres of different tomato varieties are grown in two greenhouses. On a sunny afternoon Assistant Grower, Leesa Garnett and Director of Brand Marketing & Communications, Helen Aquino, hosted a tour of the greenhouse where bright red and orange colors stand out.

We only grow tomatoes at this Delta location, no peppers or cucumbers,” mentioned Garnett. A lot of snacking and specialty tomatoes including grape, cherry, and mini san Marzano tomato varieties as well as TOV, Beefsteak and Romas. “Most varieties were planted in week 52, just before Christmas,” said Garnett. “By week 30, most of the growing is done, but we will continue to maintain the plants and harvest through November.”

Trialing varieties

In addition to the 12 varieties Village Farms commercially grows in Delta, many more varieties are trialed. “When trialing a variety, we look at several different parameters,” said Garnett. “From a grower’s perspective, we ask ourselves the question if we can grow the variety and if it offers the yields we are looking to get. If a variety can grow in one controlled environment, that doesn’t mean it can grow in another,” she added. From a customer’s point of view, flavor and shelf-life are key. “Flavor is a key differentiator as taste is so important to us, and to consumers. Heavenly Villagio Marzano® is an example of a variety that successfully delivers on all parts of the value chain.”

“We only grow tomatoes at this Delta location, no peppers or cucumbers,” mentioned Garnett. A lot of snacking and specialty tomatoes including grape, cherry, and mini san Marzano tomato varieties as well as TOV, Beefsteak and Romas. “Most varieties were planted in week 52, just before Christmas,” said Garnett. “By week 30, most of the growing is done, but we will continue to maintain the plants and harvest through November.”


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