Mucci Farms plans to expand its operations in Kingsville, Ont. and Huron, Ohio with a total of 206 acres over the next two years.
The company says the investments supports its ongoing emphasis on maximizing local and regionally grown fruits and vegetables year-round through expansion and lit culture grow light technology.
“Demand for greenhouse grown produce is growing rapidly as consumers continue to put pressure on the food industry to prioritize food safety, sustainability, responsible growing practices and clean growing environments,” says Bert Mucci, CEO.
The first year of expansions include bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and strawberries that are grown in the largest controlled climate strawberry farm in North America. “Our berry program has been a big success and we believe it’s because of the quality and flavour we are able to provide through a clean growing environment, sustainable growing practices and our proximity to market,” says Joe Spano, VP of sales and marketing. “Since we aren’t importing from California or Florida, we can maximize sugars by allowing product to be fully ripe before we harvest.”
The second year will focus exclusively on bell peppers with a 100-acre expansion to accommodate a growing need for supply in the category, which is being done through expansion as well as technology. “We have seen a strong rise in demand for locally grown peppers in recent years and expanding our own supply reduces our reliance on partner growers and imports,” adds Bert. “We are currently trialing lit culture grow lights for our Pepper program which will be a game changer that allows us to grow local peppers 365 days a year.”
Expansion Breakdown by Acreage and Commodity
- 25-acres of Tomatoes on-the-vine in Huron, Ohio, the third and final phase of the 75-acre project
- 30-acres of multiple varieties of Bell Peppers in Kingsville
- 36-acres of SmucciesTM Sweet strawberries in Kingsville, doubling the current acreage to a total of 72-acres
- 15-acres of mini-cocktail cucumbers, branded as the award-winning CuteCumber Poppers
- 100-acres of multiple varieties of Bell Peppers at a new site in Kingsville with construction beginning in 2022
Additional projects include a dedicated research and development facility to be ready in 2021. “We have over 300 varieties of various commodities being trialed at any given time,” says Danny Mucci, president of sales and marketing. “Consolidating them all into one specific building allows us to be much more thorough and expand our capabilities. Our trial program includes non-traditional greenhouse grown items such as zucchinis, blackberries and melons and we have a healthy appetite for new innovative varieties.”