Canadian greenhouse giant buys Maine tomato grower Backyard Farms

Posted June 09, 2017, at 9:16 a.m.
Last modified June 09, 2017, at 2:11 p.m.

MADISON, Maine — Canadian greenhouse vegetable grower Mastronardi Produce has purchased Backyard Farms in Madison, New England’s largest year-round tomato grower, for an undisclosed price.

The purchase makes Backyard Farms a part of North America’s largest grower of greenhouse produce, with six locations, about 3,000 employees and 4,000 acres of growing space. Backyard Farms has about 200 employees managing 42 acres of greenhouse in Madison.

Backyard Farms’ president, Stuart Jablon, will continue to run the company as a separate brand and a subsidiary of Mastronardi, based in Kingsville, Ontario. Mastronardi produces tomatoes under its Sunset, Angel Sweet and Kumato brands and owns other speciality brands, including Campari and Zima.

The Canadian company’s produce is certified as non-genetically modified.

Jablon said Mastronardi’s purchase will allow Backyard Farms to take its business “to the next level of operations” and reach more customers.

“We look forward to being a part of a market leader and making sure that customers continue to receive fresh and high-quality produce throughout every season,” Jablon said in a prepared statement.

The purchase comes amid the company’s 10th year in business in Maine, starting in 2007 and shipping tomatoes to Hannaford markets around the state.

The company grew into a regional producer during those years, overcoming a major setback in 2013, when it had to throw out an entire crop and furlough its workers due to a whitefly infestation. After a false start that August, the company brought back its workers and restarted in earnest in early 2014.

The greenhouse produces about 27 million pounds of tomatoes per year, which it ships as far as Maryland.

 

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