It’s one of the most interesting paradoxes of modern living – a single vegetable that was still rooted in the ground hundreds of miles away only a few days ago ends up on your dinner table today, no less fresh than if you had just harvested it yourself. With today’s system of food distribution, it’s a mundane occurrence, but the ubiquity of fresh vegetables should make the accomplishment no less astonishing.
Making this modern miracle of logistics a reality every day is the stock and trade of Ontario’s Fresh Pack Produce CA Ltd. Based in Kingsville, Ontario, Fresh Pack’s name is known across North America for supplying grocery stores with fresh produce from a variety of growers. The company says it and its growers are on the leading edge of technology, which ultimately gives Fresh Pack the advantage over other distributors and allows it to better serve its customers in the United States and Canada.
It is that technological focus that Fresh Pack believes will be the key to spurring future success, and one that the company continues to make one of its top priorities. Along with concentrating on ensuring the safety of its produce, Fresh Pack is working to help advance the practice of produce distribution for the future.
Fresh Pack has been in the business of distributing produce since 2001, and is approaching its 10th anniversary in 2011. Since its inception, the company has grown from a small start-up into a major supplier with locations throughout North America. At its headquarters in Kingsville, Fresh Pack boasts a state-of-the-art packaging shed, along with a 30,000-square-foot distribution center that features 25,000 square feet of temperature-controlled space.
Its location in New Mexico spans 40 acres, and includes an expansive glass greenhouse and a 60,000-square-foot distribution center. “We have distribution centers in Atlanta, Denver and Dallas to help serve our customers,” the company says. Fresh Pack’s core products are beefsteak tomatoes, clusters of tomatoes on the vine, cucumbers, bell peppers and mushrooms.
Fresh Pack says one of the core reasons for its success is the strong relationships it has with the growers that supply much of its produce. “Along with our network of growers, we supply produce to some of the largest grocery chains in North America,” the company says. “All of our produce is shipped fresh every day from our greenhouses in Leamington, Ontario. The Leamington area in southern Ontario has one of the largest concentrations of greenhouses in North America.
“It is because of this concentration that all the newest and best growing techniques are employed here and constantly getting better,” the company continues. “The hydroponic techniques that are used by our growers are constantly evolving into well-developed science.”
From Ground to Grocer
Once the produce is taken out of the soil, Fresh Pack’s state-of-the-art packaging facility provides the company with the ability to package vegetables according to each customer’s individual needs. The company says it strives to stay up-to-date with all of the latest trends in packaging.
“We offer a wide range of special packaging,” the company says. “At Fresh Pack, we realize the changing needs of new ideas and new packaging requirements, which keep us on top of new marketing ideas. Our close relationships with wholesalers and retailers across North America make a great partnership in working together.”
Between the distribution center and the customer, Fresh Pack uses the latest technology to ensure its products arrive on time and secure. “Fresh Pack’s state-of-the-art transportation system includes satellite tracking technologies to ensure that we know at all times where [customers’] produce is,” it says. “If there are any unexpected delays, we can let [them] know far enough ahead of time for [them] to make arrangements.”
Because the threat of terrorism has made it necessary for food producers to be on alert, Fresh Pack has joined with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). “C-TPAT is a voluntary government-business
initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen and improve overall international supply chain and U.S. border security,” according to the Department of Homeland Security. “By participating in this first worldwide supply chain security initiative, companies will ensure a more secure and expeditious supply chain for their employees, suppliers and customers.” As part of its cooperation with the C-TPAT program, Fresh Pack recently hired Windsor, Ontario-based OB1 Consulting to provide it with security management consulting services.
Continuous improvement is the watchword for Fresh Pack, the company says. As the company prepares to complete its first decade of service, it says it wants to continue to be a leader in the advancement of the produce industry.
“Exciting things are going on at Fresh Pack,” the company says. “As our business grows, our need for high-quality, high-volume growers is increasing. Right now, we are in the middle of a large expansion which will see Fresh Pack redefining how tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are grown, packed, delivered and marketed.”