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Dean Taylor with Mastronardi Produce:

“There is always a high level of excitement when we launch a new Bombs variety”

At Mastronardi Produce, about 4,000 to 5,000 greenhouse tomato varieties are reviewed annually and with a bit of luck, it results in bringing one variety to market. "Out of the varieties we review, we taste at least 1,000 different ones and put between 400 and 500 in a trial at our research centers," says Dean Taylor, VP of Business Development at Mastronardi Produce. These varieties meet several criteria, with flavor being first. After that, the team looks at minimum fruit weight, minimum Brix levels, and minimum productivity. The company's largest research center, the "FRED Exploratory," is located in Coldwater, Michigan. FRED stands for Flavor, Research, Education, and Discovery. In addition, satellite centers around the world are used to trial varieties under as many different conditions as possible. Altogether, more than one million square feet of trial space is dedicated to research and development.

FRED Exploratory.

High bar for specialty varieties
At this week's CPMA Vancouver event, the company will show a new variety that is considered a SUNSET® specialty. It's the 6th flavor of the Bombs® line and is called Bahama Bombs™. "For the varieties in the Bombs line, we set the bar even higher," Taylor shared. "Flavor comes first, it needs to be extraordinary." The second criterion to qualify for a specialty variety is the visual appeal. "In order for a tomato to qualify for the Bombs line, the variety must be grown on the vine, be uniform in size and color, and be visually striking." When the Bombs line was first launched 10 years ago with the Flavor Bombs® variety, it quickly grew a fanbase among consumers and retailers alike. "Consumers trust this brand, and it has a cult-like following. There is always a high level of excitement when we launch a new Bombs variety."

That's exactly what happened with Sugar Bombs® – the line's second product – and what Taylor anticipates will happen with Bahama Bombs, too. "We knew we had a winner when this variety was presented to us. It happens to be a sister variety of Sugar Bombs and has everything we love about Sugar Bombs but with notes of citrus and a bright sparkle," Taylor commented. Bahama Bombs are a vibrant orange grape tomato on-the-vine, whereas Sugar Bomb is a red grape variety. "Because of its incredible aroma, refreshing flavor, uniform presentation, and high Brix level, I know Bahama Bombs will be a very successful variety." Both Sugar Bombs and Bahama Bombs originate from the same breeding company, a valued seed company partner. The other varieties of the Bombs line – Honey Bombs™, Lolli Bombs®, and Umami Bombs™ – were each developed by different breeders.

Three years to perfect variety
Bahama Bombs were first discovered three years ago and Mastronardi Produce spent the last three years figuring out how to perfect the variety. "When the breeder gave us the variety, it was in the early stages of development and near-perfect. After three years of perfecting the growing strategy in our trial centers, we brought it to an 11 out of 10," Taylor proudly shared. The variety was trialed in four different countries, including Canada, the United States, Mexico, and the Netherlands. "However, the best way to get the ultimate flavor out of this ultra-premium variety is by growing them in the U.S. where we have many high-tech glass greenhouses. That's where it performs best."

Bahama Bombs.

Available in U.S. and Europe
A limited supply of Bahama Bomb is available at select retailers as well as food service providers throughout the U.S., a market where consumers are willing to pay for flavor. "We've built so much trust in this line that consumers can't wait to taste the latest addition. It's also a niche item for high-end restaurants." Outside the U.S., the Bombs line is also available in Europe through Mastronardi's division in Holland. "For twelve years, we've been actively growing different tomato varieties in the Netherlands, Tunisia, and Spain." From there, the tomatoes are distributed across Europe.

Taste the Tropics™
Anyone interested in learning more about Mastronardi's Bombs line and tasting the new Bahama Bombs can visit the team at booth #1130 at CPMA Vancouver on April 24 and 25.

For more information:
Mastronardi / Sunset
Tel.: (519) 326-1491
[email protected]