SUNSET Produce brought greenhouses to North America

Author: Clute Packaging Systems Ltd. |

Blog by Clute Packaging Systems Ltd.

About 60 years ago there were no commercial greenhouses in North America.  That’s when an Italian immigrant named Umberto Mastronardi, who had arrived in Canada in the 1920’s from Italy, travelled to Holland to study greenhouse technology.  Upon his return to Canada, he built the first greenhouses on this continent and today, Mastronardi Produce Ltd. (MPL), under the SUNSET Produce brand is the largest greenhouse company in North America.

From those humble beginnings MPL has become not only a leader in the business of growing fruit and vegetables in greenhouses, it has also become a model of innovation, safety and corporate responsibility worldwide.  Among the many accolades MPL has received:

  • Named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies
  • Joined the Non-GMO Project and received its certification in 2010
  • Developed highly efficient transportation network with distribution locations in Ontario, Mexico,  Michigan, Florida, Colorado and California
  • Developed a comprehensive food safety program that utilizes the internationally accepted Safe Quality Foods (SQF) standards

MPL employs a VP of Food Safety who holds a doctorate degree and two microbiologists to monitor every aspect of their operation. This allows  MPL to monitor the appearance of bacteria and molds  that could reduce shelf life in their products.  It also allows MPL to detect a food-borne threat well in advance of government regulations.

How important is this?  That question was answered in 2008 during the Salmonella outbreak.  As president and CEO Paul Mastronardi explains:

“The industry was frozen in the middle of a Saintpaul salmonellosis outbreak, which is a rare and very dangerous strain. CNN approached us, because at the time the food industry thought an effective traceability system couldn’t be done, but we had one in place since 2002,” admits Paul.

Since that time, the province of Ontario has made traceability systems like the ones MPL uses mandatory.

Mastronardi Produce Ltd. and its SUNSET Produce brand has as its motto “Goodness Grown Naturally.”  Here are some examples of how they put that motto into practice:

  • Created the only carbon negative greenhouse in Canada (as audited by a third party).  This is GENIUS:  The MPL team designed the greenhouse to connect to a nearby industrial plant, which supplies the greenhouse with its excess heat and CO2 to warm the greenhouse during cold winter months.
  • MPL’s popular tomatoes not only grow in state-of-the-art greenhouses producing lower gases, they grow in earth-friendly recycled coconut husks using fewer chemicals and fertilizer from recycled leach water from the plants.
  • MPL also prioritizes the use of alternate fuels, and the company has even developed an integrated pest management system to avoid pesticides and insecticides naturally.

We at Clute Packaging Systems are very proud of our relationship with Mastronardi Produce Ltd.  We believe that their core values as a company line up perfectly with ours, and that can be seen in how we do not simply supply a service at the lowest possible cost, but we over deliver to do the right thing every time.

If you would like to discuss your packaging system, contact us any time.  We would love to add your company to our list of satisfied clients.