Innovative greenhouse pioneer Paul Mastronardi was recently recognized by the Ontario Produce Marketing Association with a lifetime achievement award.
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“This award is an incredible honour for me and my family,” said Mastronardi. “I was born into this industry and had the great fortune of learning from the legacy of three generations before me. I feel a great sense of pride and privilege to carry that on.”
Mastronardi’s father, Don, has also received the award.
Mastronardi Produce has a 70-year history in southwestern Ontario for producing greenhouse-grown gourmet tomatoes including Campari, Flavour Bombs and Angel Sweet, as well as peppers, cucumbers and berries under the Sunset brand.
Joe Sbrocchi, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers executive director, presented the award and said Mastronardi’s hard work and innovative spirit made him an industry game-changer.
Mastronardi launched the first 100 per cent traceability program and was the first fresh produce company to receive Non-GMO Project verification. He also pioneered high-tech strawberry greenhouse growing in 2003 and introduced the world’s first branded and award-winning tomato, the Campari cocktail tomato.
Sbrocchi said in a release that Mastronardi’s marketing virtuosity led to many accomplishments that influenced the industry.
Mastronardi thanked his family and the larger Flavour Nation employee family for their support, noting the collective efforts of the produce industry to evolve is a constant source of inspiration. He said the award has strengthened his resolve to continue advocating for the industry.
Lisa Thompson, minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, congratulated all award winners at the awards ceremony, which was held at the Blue Mountain Village Conference Centre in November.
“Ontarians are looking for and choosing fresh fruits and vegetables grown right here at home,” said Thompson. “Your marketing efforts are making a difference in creating a greater awareness of Ontario produce and are also driving a sense of pride in our provincial agri-food industry.”