Spring is in full swing and although the buds on the trees are just beginning to bloom, Heinen’s Produce Department has already blossomed with local produce at the peak of freshness. You may be wondering, “How does Heinen’s have fresh local produce, when the temperature outside can barely reach 50°F?”
That’s easy! It’s all thanks to our trusted greenhouse growers, like NatureFresh™ Farms who grows local tomatoes that likely make it into your weekday salads and dinnertime dishes. Their expertise, sustainable practices and passion for growing, combined with our desire to bring our customers the best of the best in produce, allows Heinen’s to have fresh locally-grown tomatoes even when winter and spring decide to stick around a little longer than anticipated.
If we know anything about tomatoes, it’s that they come in many shapes and sizes from perfectly snackable cherry tomatoes to plump beefsteak tomatoes for topping summer burgers. Although NatureFresh™ grows a wide assortment of produce, for the past 6 years, they have helped us expand our selection of local tomatoes to include Tomatoes-on-the-Vine, Red Beefsteak Tomatoes, Green Beefsteak Tomatoes, Roma Tomatoes and TOMZ® Red Grape, Red Cherry, Orange Grape, and Mixed Medley Tomatoes.
With a lineup like this, NatureFresh™ is surely an expert in the greenhouse growing industry, but expertise comes with time, which Peter Quiring proved when he founded NatureFresh™ Farms 20 years ago. Before he founded NatureFresh™, Peter spent his days building greenhouses, but that all changed in 1999 when he built a greenhouse in Leamington, Ontario that he couldn’t seem to sell. So, instead of selling it, he decided to try growing in it. From that point, the seeds of NatureFresh™ were planted.
Two decades later, NatureFresh™ is proving that keeping the greenhouse was the right decision. With nearly 160 acres of greenhouses in Canada and 45 acres in Ohio, they have expanded in both company size and product variety, but it’s their commitment to providing high quality produce through sustainable practices that makes NatureFresh™ tomatoes unlike any other.
Generally, the quality of greenhouse-grown products is very high because you can essentially create a perfect environment without worrying about potentially harmful environmental factors like rain, wind, snow and larger pests. However, the hands-on care that the NatureFresh™ team gives to their crops is what truly sets them apart. The NatureFresh™ team is in the crops every day making sure the plants are getting exactly what they need to grow strong and healthy. This includes managing temperature, humidity levels, irrigation, shading, CO2 circulation and integrated pest management practices.
Although NatureFresh™ Farms creates their own ideal environment inside of the greenhouse, they strongly believe in keeping the outside environment just as healthy by using every person on their team to implement sustainable practices throughout the growing, harvesting and packaging and purchasing process. It all starts with using a natural medium for growing and recycling excess water with a closed loop irrigation system, among other sustainable growing efforts. However, their ongoing introduction of environmentally sustainable packaging ensures that NatureFresh™ Farms is fair to the environment from start to finish.
When it comes to produce, NatureFresh™ and Heinen’s share a commitment to providing the best in taste and quality, but we also share a belief in improving the quality of surrounding communities by donating excess food to local food banks and rescue organizations. With roots in community, sustainability and quality, NatureFresh™ is key in keeping Heinen’s local produce selection fresh year round.