It’s relatively easy for people in southwestern Ontario to source locally grown produce. Now, an Essex County greenhouse company is hoping to do the same for consumers in the Middle East.
Kingsville-based Mastronardi Produce, which sells under the Sunset brand, announced its intention this week to build a hybrid greenhouse/vertical farming facility — a proprietary, climate-controlled technology the company calls the Advanced High-Density Farming System — somewhere in the region.
CEO Paul Mastronardi declined to name a specific country where the facility will be built, but said his company has narrowed it down to two sites.
The venture, called Green International Ventures LLC (GIVE), has the backing of billionaire John Paul DeJoria, the entrepreneur known for Paul Mitchell hair care products and Patrón tequila.
“The Middle East is a net importer of fruits and vegetables,” said Mastronardi in a conversation with Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre.
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“That gives a great opportunity to try new technologies because the rates that they’re paying in those markets are already elevated because a lot of the produce is flown in.”
Mastronardi hopes to produce its first crops in the Middle East by the fall of 2020. They plan to grow tomatoes, berries and leafy greens.