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Canadian greenhouse growers win in local and international competitions

by Graeme Hammer
Published: Last Updated on
Agriculture News & Updates

Mastronardi Produce and Nature Fresh Farms won big at greenhouse competitions and their products received awards for flavor and quality.

Last week, SUNSET took top honors at its local Leamington Greenhouse Competition, with the most awards of any competitor, including Best Overall Strawberry for its SUNSET WOW pearberry. SUNSET also earned the most Chef’s Choice Awards, a new category for the competition in which Greenhouse Competition chef Henry Furtado selected the products that inspired him the most out of 136 submissions. Submitted as part of the new Specialty Berry category for 2022, BerryWorld Raspberries were crowned the victor for their succulently sweet Diamond Jubilee raspberry.

Earlier this month, Mastronardi and its partner BerryWorld received seven awards from the International Taste Institute for SUNSET and WOW Berries brands at the 2022 Superior Taste Awards in Brussels, Belgium. The winning products include SUNSET LolliPeppers seedless, mini peppers, Angel Sweet tomatoes, Golden Angel Sweet tomatoes, Kumato tomatoes, as well as angelberry™ raspberries, moonberry blackberries, and pearberry strawberries from the WOW Berries line.

“Both of these awards represent significant victories for us and are a tribute to our efforts to place flavor first across all our brands,” says Paul Mastronardi, president, and CEO of Mastronardi Produce. “It is a tremendous honor and extremely validating to be recognized for the investment we make in taste and quality by culinary experts both within our local community and worldwide. Our employees can be proud that we are delivering on our mission to inspire healthy living through WOW flavor experiences.”


Nature Fresh Farms
In the same local competition, Nature Fresh Farms received top honors for their Red Bell Pepper and Black Label Hiiros, which won ‘Best Overall’ in their respective categories. 

“Nature Fresh Farms mission is to ‘Grow for a Kinder Future’,” explains John Ketler, President, Nature Fresh Farms. “To be presented with these awards illustrates to us that we are on the right path. That our team is innovating, collaborating, and advancing not only our business, but our industry forward – growing quality, sustainable and flavorful produce.”

Nature Fresh Farms Red Bell Pepper took first place in the Red Bell Pepper category and claiming Overall Best Pepper with a score of 980.0 – the highest score of any produce in the competition’s history. “This bell pepper’s smell, texture, and taste are unparalleled. We’ve never had a bell pepper score the highest overall in any competition,” exclaimed competition judges.

“We know that quality, consistency, and flavor are paramount to retailers and consumers when it comes to produce,” noted Matt Quiring, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing at Nature Fresh Farms. “Which is why we are very careful in our selection process; and why we have a dedicated team that sources the highest quality seeds for production in our greenhouses.”


Nature Fresh Farms claimed awards in the following categories:


  • Tiny Cocktail Cucumbers – 1st Place
  • Mini Cucumbers – 2nd Place
  • English Cucumbers – 2nd Place
  • Red Bell Pepper – 1st Place (Highest scoring produce in competition history with a score of 980.0)
  • Yellow Bell Pepper – 3rd Place
  • Orange Bell Pepper – 1st Place
  • Hot Pepper – 2nd Place
  • Overall Best Pepper – Winner (Red Bell Pepper which scored 1st out of 32 Pepper entries)
  • Specialty Berry – 2nd Place
  • Beefsteak Tomato – 1st & 3rd Place
  • Roma Tomato – 1st Place
  • Cocktail Tomato – 2nd Place
  • Specialty Tomato – 1st Place
  • Bite Size Tomato – 2nd Place
  • Overall Best Tomato – Winner (Black Label Hiiros which scored 1st out of 73 Tomato entries)
  • Red Bell Pepper Chef’s Choice – Winner
  • Tiny Cocktail Cucumber Chef’s Choice – Winner

The annual Leamington Greenhouse Competition is hosted by R.E.A.C.H. International, a locally funded charitable organization. Entries are judged through a blind taste test by a panel of experts, including representatives from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs, chefs, and produce managers.

The Superior Taste Awards are evaluated by a jury of more than 200 chefs and sommeliers and recognize the quality and taste of international food and drink producers. Awarded products are deemed “well made, balanced, and delicious” after undergoing a rigorous blind sensory evaluation of five criteria: first impression, vision, olfaction, taste, and texture. 

For more information:
Audra Macintyre
Mastronardi Produce
Tel: +1 (519) 326-3218
[email protected] 

Krysta Markham
Nature Fresh Farms
Tel: 519-326-1111
[email protected]

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