March 17, 2015

SunSelect enters BC season with strong crops and momentum

Powered by a robust first winter of production from its new California facility, leading BC greenhouse grower SunSelect Produce has entered the Canadian season ready to drive sales.

The Aldergrove-based grower began shipping new-crop cucumbers and sweet bell peppers in mid-March, with production expected to extend through late fall. As BC’s largest red, yellow and orange pepper producer, expectations are high for consistent volumes and quality throughout the season.

SunSelect is the only Fair Trade Certified pepper grower in Canada, offering a unique opportunity for retailers to differentiate and satisfy their most discerning customers. Fair Trade premiums earned on SunSelect peppers benefit worker communities in both Guatemala and Canada.

Meanwhile, peppers and tomatoes grown in SunSelect’s new greenhouse in Tehachapi, Calif., will continue shipping to key markets in the Western U.S. and Canada. Much of this product is also earmarked for strong local “grown in California” consumer programs, according to Len Krahn, SunSelect co-owner and general manager.

“The mild winter has positioned us well with strong plants poised for solid production out of BC,” he said. “At the same time, we can continue to serve our customers south of the border with the high quality peppers and tomatoes we are producing in California, which are ideal for locally grown promotions.”

SunSelect opened the doors to its high-tech 32-acre California greenhouse last October. Tehachapi is proving to have an excellent climate for greenhouse production. Low humidity, cool nights and high light levels each play a huge role in producing consistent quality and sizing, Krahn said.

As well, the climate is conducive to growing in a positive pressure greenhouse, as opposed to using roof vents, because pest populations in the area are naturally low.

Success to date has prompted SunSelect to accelerate the expansion of the facility. The next phase will entail an additional 32 acres of sweet bell peppers, tomatoes-on-the-vine, a diversified mix of specialty tomatoes and innovative value-added packaging. Production will begin this fall.

The Oppenheimer Group’s Executive Category Director, Greenhouse Aaron Quon shares Krahn’s enthusiasm.

“SunSelect is off to an impressive start in Tehachapi,” said Quon. Oppy is SunSelect’s marketing partner and an investor in its BC and California greenhouses. “Customers are very receptive to the quality of the product―it delivers everything our retail partners have come to expect from the SunSelect brand, great appearance, vibrant color and excellent flavor.”

As well, SunSelect tomatoes-on-the-vine have joined the Sesame Street eat brighter! movement under the Oppy umbrella with truss tags featuring Cookie Monster and Elmo.

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