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Mastronardi Set to Smash the Salad Bowl

Kingsville, ON (September 29th, 2020) – It is a little-known fact that Mastronardi Produce, the company behind the world’s first branded tomato, actually has its roots in lettuce. In the 1940’s, when Armando Mastronardi bought a farm after his arrival in Canada, his first crop was not tomatoes – it was lettuce. Now the company is returning to its roots and launching a new lettuce brand, Queen of Greens™.

“We are always looking for better ways to deliver on the food that people have been used to settling for,” says Paul Mastronardi, President and CEO of Mastronardi Produce. “It’s why we’re always pushing the boundaries on flavor, technology and sustainability. We believe the lettuce category needs a revolution, and we have the expertise and resources to drive that change.”


Lettuce is the largest category in fresh produce but is rife with issues. Over the last 2 years alone, disease pressure has cost retailers an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars and has severely tarnished consumers’ perception of the category. Long cross-country treks result in shorter shelf life and negatively impact the environment. And limited varietal development means lettuce has long been viewed as strictly a vessel for salad dressing – low in flavor and not very exciting.

Enter Queen of Greens™, the new high-tech lettuce line from Mastronardi. Leveraging their expertise in research & development, their connections with the best seed companies around the world, and their knack for innovation and branding, Mastronardi believes its new lettuce offering will truly change what the world expects from its greens. The brand promises better varieties, exciting and innovative products, branding that will elevate the category, and consistent, year-round supply.

The greenhouses that grow the lettuce will feature the most advanced technology in the world and will be completely automated and touch-free from seeding to packing. Not only does the protected nature of a greenhouse allow for consistent and predictable quality and supply 365 days per year, but with significantly less land and less water used than field farms, the product offering will be more sustainable and environmentally friendly than what is available in today’s conventional lettuce category. And because the lettuce is grown indoors in a controlled environment, there isn’t the same risk of wildlife contaminants that is seen in field farming.

“We’re excited to change the game in this category. We’ve done our research, we know what consumers are looking for and we know the potential within the category is incredible,” says Paul. “As pioneers of the commercial greenhouse industry, we are confident that we will be the ones to drive the advancement and growth in the high-tech lettuce segment.”

Queen of Greens™ will launch during the PMA Virtual Fresh Summit, with supply immediately available.

SUNSET and Brighter Bites Ready to Rock PMA’s Fresh Summit

Kingsville, ON (September 24, 2020) – SUNSET® and Brighter Bites® are joining forces to do some good in the produce world and have some fun while doing so. The two organizations are partnering in a groundbreaking virtual event for the produce industry that will help raise funds to support the Brighter Bites mission of delivering fresh produce to families who need it most.

“With the produce world going virtual for this year’s PMA Fresh Summit, we didn’t want to compromise on the opportunity to get the industry together to have some fun and keep the SUNSET® Rocks tradition going,” says Paul Mastronardi, President and CEO of Mastronardi Produce. “With Brighter Bites, we saw an opportunity to look at the event through a different lens this year and give to the families that have been hit hard by the pandemic.”

The first-ever virtual SUNSET® Rocks event will take place during the PMA Fresh Summit and will still feature a surprise, big-name recording artist as it has for the past 10 years. Previous acts have included; Steven Page, Tone Loc, Flo Rida, One Republic, Kid Rock, Poison, Bryan Adams, Pitbull, Duran Duran and Maroon 5.

The team has worked on fun ways to make the virtual experience feel immersive and still have the sense of connection that has been so valued in the past. This year, the event will be calling on sponsors and spectators to raise funds for the Brighter Bites cause. It will also feature the front-line workers within the produce industry that have been critical in maintaining a strong supply of fresh produce throughout the ongoing pandemic.

“We’re incredibly excited to partner with SUNSET® on the SUNSET® Rocks event. This will go so far in helping so many people in need,” says Rich Dachman, CEO of Brighter Bites. “The ability for the industry to come together and make a difference in the lives of people who need our help is truly what I love the most about the produce world. And to do it in such a fun and creative way is something we can all look forward to.”

PMA CEO Cathy Burns has offered the support of the PMA in attracting a large audience for the event: “This year has presented a multitude of unique challenges and opportunities and I continue to be inspired by our industry’s response,” said Burns. “With the Fresh Summit virtual forum focused on content, community, and connections, I am thrilled that the popular SUNSET® Rocks event will not only provide an incredible opportunity to come together and connect, but that it will also serve as a platform to support our strategic partner Brighter Bites and its critical work to get fresh fruits and vegetables to children and families in at-risk communities. Thanks to the leadership of Paul Mastronardi and his team, all registered Fresh Summit guests will have a wonderful way to catch up and help further our vision to grow a healthier world.”

With an expanded invitation list and some exciting surprises in store, SUNSET® Rocks is shaping up to be an unforgettable experience that will also have a big impact on the lives of the people most important to the industry – the families that enjoy our produce each day.

Welcome to Flavorville: SUNSET’s Virtual Take on PMA Fresh Summit


Kingsville, ON (Tuesday, September 22nd 2020) – Houston, Orlando, New Orleans, Anaheim, and Atlanta. No matter what city the PMA Fresh Summit is held in, Mastronardi Produce is always known to bring flavor in a big way. This year is no exception. With the PMA Fresh Summit taking to a virtual platform, Mastronardi Produce is inviting the industry to join them in Flavorville – the place where their innovative and revolutionary ideas come to fruition, and where their flavorful products go from seed to shelf.

“This year, we have the amazing opportunity to bring the PMA to us and to connect with the industry in a completely different and unique way,” shares Paul Mastronardi, President and CEO of Mastronardi Produce. “We are creating an immersive experience for customer meetings. Customers will be invited to join our team virtually at our headquarters and see our latest game-changing innovations first-hand. We have a lot of big things planned for the future and we cannot wait to give the industry an exclusive, inside look into our innovative product offerings and bold, new flavors.”

Although virtual, Mastronardi Produce is still serving up fresh flavor at the PMA in exciting new ways, including cooking demos with Celebrity Chef Roger Mooking, a unique partnership with Brighter Bites, and of course, the annual SUNSET Rocks party.

“We weren’t going to let anything stand in the way of SUNSET Rocks,” continues Paul. “Each year, we invite our customers to connect and have fun with us at our SUNSET Rocks party and with the virtual platform, we are able to extend that invite to the entire industry and raise money for an amazing cause.”

While Mastronardi Produce isn’t revealing much about their newest flavors and product launches, they do say that the industry will be continually surprised throughout the weeks leading to the show. You will have to wait and see what bomb they will drop at PMA and how they plan to ignite a revolution in a whole new category.

SUNSET® Earns Three Superior Taste Awards for Phenomenal Flavor 

Kingsville, ON (June 11, 2020) – For a company who places flavor at the top of their game, winning a prestigious flavor award is an honor that SUNSET® has received for not one, but three of their newest produce innovations. Honey Bombs™ golden cherry tomatoes on-the-vine, Shazam!™ shishito peppers, and Kaboom!® black jalapenos all received Superior Taste Awards at this year’s blind tasting presented by the International Taste Institute in Brussels, Belgium.

“Winning these Superior Taste Awards is a true honor and great testament to our continual dedication in delivering quality, flavorful produce to our customers and consumers. We know that people dig flavor and we will continue to give healthy, flavorful options that revolutionize the category and inspire our consumers to live life flavorfully,” says Paul Mastronardi, President and CEO of Mastronardi Produce. “What I love most about this prestigious event is that it is a blind taste-test conducted by some of the world’s greatest chefs and sommeliers and products are judged purely on the full sensory experience that they deliver.”

SUNSET was amongst 800 other food and beverage producers from around the world who submitted their products in hopes of receiving a Superior Taste Award Certification. Each product was judged by a jury of over 200 of the world’s most renowned Michelin-starred Chefs and Sommeliers and evaluated on the following criteria: first impression, vision, olfaction, taste, and texture.

“It’s a strict process. The products are blind tasted; this means that the samples are anonymized: we do not see the packaging and do not know the brand name nor the producers’ name; we don’t even know from which country it comes,” says Stijn Roelandt, International Taste Institute jury member and Sous-Chef at Hof van Cleve, 3 Michelin stars. “This forces us to be completely objective as we do the sensory analysis. Only truly good products are certified.”

This is the 11th year in a row that SUNSET has received Superior Taste Awards from the International Taste Institute. Other award-winning products include their Aloha™ striped peppers, Flavor Bombs® and Sugar Bombs® from the Bombs™ lineup of on-the-vine snacking tomatoes, and Campari®, the world’s first branded tomato.

SUNSET® Takes the Prize at Virtual CPMA

Kingsville, ON (May 13, 2020) – Things just got a little sweeter for SUNSET®, who recently received the Best Snackable Product award at the CPMA Virtual New Product Showcase for their newest on-the-vine snacking tomato, Honey Bombs™. With the cancellation of Canada’s largest produce trade show due to COVID-19, the CPMA took to a virtual platform to display the latest in product and packaging innovation.

“Our Bombs™ lineup has had such an overwhelming response from customers and consumers, first with Flavor Bombs® and then Sugar Bombs®,” says Paul Mastronardi, President and CEO of Mastronardi Produce. “Honey Bombs™ offers the same explosive flavor that consumers come to expect with our brand and is already garnering the same cult-like attention as our other Bombs tomatoes.”

Honey Bombs is the newest addition to the uber successful Bombs™ lineup of snacking tomatoes. These golden sweet cherry tomatoes-on-the-vine offer a sweet-like-honey taste and pack a perfect crunch. Their explosive flavor, vibrant color, and aromatic crunch make them ideal for snacking, salads, and appetizers and their beautiful foil-detailed packaging helps them stand out on shelf.

“While our circumstances have changed tremendously over the past several months, it’s fantastic to see how the industry is still connecting virtually and celebrating innovations in fresh produce,” continues Paul. “We are thrilled to receive this award for one of our latest produce innovations.”

Honey Bombs was one of 56 products that entered the CPMA Virtual New Product Showcase which were displayed on Twitter under the hashtag #2020NPS. Products were judged by a panel of industry experts.

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