Sunripe™ Certified Brands' Jon Esformes Discusses Southeast Expansion and Upcoming Southern Innovations
PALMETTO, FL - What happens on the show floor certainly doesn’t stay on the show floor. In fact, trade shows spur inspiration for future innovations and unique retail programs that spread throughout the produce industry. With Southeast Produce Council’s (SEPC) Southern Innovations just around the corner, Sunripe™ Certified Brands’ Chief Executive Officer and Operating Partner Jon Esformes gives me an exclusive look at what to expect from the company come September 9.
“We have been involved with the SEPC since its inception, and we have supported Southern Innovations for the last couple of years,” Jon explains. “We’re really excited to showcase our expansion in the southeast and our longstanding commitment to being the tomato grower of choice for the entire region year-round. This time last year, we had just partnered with Pete Pappas & Sons out of Jessup, Maryland, in their Tennessee operation Smoky Mountain Family Farms and farmed about 330 acres. This partnership has now tripled our production to about 1,000 acres of all fresh market tomatoes.”
On the show floor, Sunripe Certified Brands will be highlighting its round Roma and snacking tomato line, which includes conventional and organic grape tomatoes as well as cherry tomatoes, all from the grower’s Tennessee farms. Sunripe offers these products for retail, wholesale, and foodservice, operating under what the company refers to as a 12-in-12 strategy: producing high-quality tomatoes 12 months a year within a 12-hour car ride from its southernmost to northernmost farms.
“Our farms are located in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, which allows us to produce high-quality tomatoes year-round,” Jon points out. “This year, buyers can expect the same level of quality and service they typically get from Sunripe Certified Brands.”
Southern Innovations attendees will have the chance to explore the many ways Sunripe can benefit them as a grower partner, as it offers customizable programs to help retailers meet consumers’ needs.
“We’re extremely flexible with our retail programs, because retailers know the consumer better than anybody. Our goal is to allow our customers’ needs to drive what we do at the farm and in our packing facilities,” Jon explains. “We’re now in a position to sit down with customers and evaluate what we can do for them year-round. So, if there are specific programs a retailer is looking to develop, we can be the tomato solutions partner for them.”
So, buyers, if you’re looking to talk tomatoes, don’t forget to stop by booth #102 when this anticipated event officially kicks off!