Tomato growers in the US and Canada continue to meet growing demand with new products and expanded acreage on both sides of the border.

Immokalee, Fla.-based tomato industry leader Lipman Family Farms has two new varieties — and they’re already award winners.

Lipman’s Monet Red and Bellavina both received the 2023 Superior Taste Award from the International Taste Institute.

 “We are excited to introduce two new flavorful tomatoes and delighted to receive international acclaim for their taste profiles,” said Elyse Lipman, CEO of Lipman Family Farms. “Our commitment to research and development to grow innovative varieties with flavor as the key differentiator has come to fruition.”

Monet Red is a greenhouse grown cocktail tomato, available year-round. Picked fresh from the vine, perfectly round and naturally sweet, these cocktail tomatoes are great for any garden salad, pasta dish, or hors d’oeuvres, adding vibrancy and bold red color to any dish, according to the company.

Bellavina is a greenhouse grown tomato on the vine, also available year-round. Excellent for freshly slicing, cooking, roasting, or blending for sauces, it has a bold red color inside and out. It received three out of three stars in the International Taste Institute rankings.

The new varieties are prime examples of Lipman’s commitment to introducing new varieties that will excite customers with powerful flavor in every bite, according to the company.

“Our commitment to growing world-class food is a passion shared across our company,” Lipman said. “We recognize the importance of bringing new, exciting options to consumers across North America and are committed to partnering with the best in the industry to source improved greenhouse varietals.”

The new varieties are packed in premium packaging with bold branding to build consumer awareness and appeal to the food savvy shopper, she added.

Lipman spotlighted Monet Red and Bellavina at SEPC’s Southern Innovations in September and at the IFPA’s Global Produce & Floral Show in October in Anaheim, Calif.

The International Taste Institute, founded in 2005 and based in Brussels, Belgium, evaluates and certifies the taste of foods and drinks from around the world.

Its jury of more than 200 selected professional taste experts scores product performance according to five standard sensory criteria: first impression, vision, olfaction, taste, and texture. Awarded to products across the food and beverage industry, the award establishes their credentials as overall exemplary items.

In its 75 years in business, Lipman Family Farms has become one of the nation’s largest integrated networks of growers, fresh-cut processors, and distributors of fresh produce.

“We pride ourselves in being an international company that remains family-owned, ensuring our ability to act as good stewards of our land and our people, creating growth that nourishes everyone,” according to the company. “We’re large enough to be local everywhere and are dedicated to being good from the ground up, providing solutions in research and development, field growing, greenhouse growing, procuring, packing, repacking, fresh-cut processing, distributing, food safety, and culinary development.”

A bigger US presence 

Leamington, Ontario-based greenhouse grower Pure Flavor has made another big investment in US greenhouse tomato production.

Pure Flavor has acquired Rochelle, Ill.-based MightyVine, a leading producer of greenhouse-grown tomatoes in the Midwest.

The move comes five years after Pure Flavor started production at its Peach County, Ga., facility.

“We continue to see significant growth and demand for the Pure Flavor brand across North America, which has prompted us to strategically invest in specific regions,” said Jamie Moracci, Pure Flavor’s president and partner. “The opportunity to add MightyVine to our family of growers will allow us to further extend our reach into the Midwest and beyond.”

Located just west of Chicago, the location of MightyVine’s 30-acre facility with lit production provides a continuous supply of fresh, greenhouse grown tomatoes year-round to one of the most important cities and regions in the US, Moracci added.

“Expanding our capacity with lit crop production enables us to service the Midwest with USA Grown tomatoes,” he said. “This further compliments our Southeast programs from our Peach County, Ga., facility.”

From the Georgia facility, Pure Flavor distributes tomatoes to key retail and foodservice partners in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee and Alabama.

Its latest move will expand the company’s US footprint even further.

“The acquisition of MightyVine further demonstrates our company leadership’s ability to recognize and analyze strategic acquisition opportunities, which continues to breathe enthusiasm into greater expansion possibilities,” said Jeff Moracci, Pure Flavor’s chief financial officer and partner.

Other recent Pure Flavor expansions include the purchase of DeTemporada Farms in December 2022 and  Cervini Farms C5 in February.

The company further expanded its network in July by acquiring another distribution center in McAllen, Texas. Expansion is already underway at DeTemporada’s Phase II of 13 acres, which will be completed later this year as well as development plans for Phases VI & VII.

“As we welcome MightyVine to the Pure Flavor family, we look forward to growing existing business relationships that have flourished over the past several years in the Midwest under the MightyVine brand,” said Matt Mastronardi, Pure Flavor executive vice president and partner. “We will continue to bring flavorful greenhouse grown tomatoes, and much more, to those loyal business partners in the years to come.”

Increasing its owned acreage helps facilitate Pure Flavor’s growth alongside its grower partners and supports the need to scale up operations to drive efficiencies, Jamie Moracci said.

This article is an excerpt from the October 2023 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Tomatoes feature and more in the digital edition here.