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Windset Farms celebrating 25 years

By
Keith Loria

Brothers John and Steven Newell grew up in agriculture and from a young age had a vision of feeding the world. That vision started to become a reality in 1996 when Windset Farms began as a four-acre Bell pepper greenhouse in Abbotsford, BC.

The brothers spent countless hours at the farm doing everything from planting, picking, packing and loading. Their continuous hard work and dedication and the help of many team members along the way has been a key component to the company’s success.

Steven Newell and John Newell
Steven Newell and John Newell

Today, Windset Farms is one of the largest Controlled Environmental Agricultural producers and marketers of greenhouse vegetables in North America, owning and operating 11 million square feet of CEA growing space, providing fresh produce to five different countries.

“Windset has become a leader in setting some of the highest standards in seed selection, sustainable growing, pest control management, food safety, traceability and packaging,” John Newell said. “Our passion for fresh, nutritious, and sustainably grown produce has evolved to a full range of products, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuces, strawberries and other specialty items.”

This year marks the 25th anniversary for Windset Farms, and it will be celebrating the milestone by showing its appreciation for its team members.

“Employees are the heart and hands of this company,” Steven Newell said. “Whether they’ve been with the company since its inception 25 years ago, or have just joined our team, we value each and every employee’s input and dedication to deliver fresh produce to the world.”

With the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry was navigating uncharted territory throughout 2020 and into 2021. However, the pandemic also proved how strong Windset Farms’ team is, starting with its human resources team, which was able to quickly set up new protocols and policies to keep everyone safe.

“They really took the leadership on the situation and steered the company through these uncertain times,” Steven Newell said. “Not only that, every employee stepped up to keep the business operating in the safest way possible. In times like this, everyone needs to be a leader and lend a helping hand and that’s exactly what happened at Windset Farms. We are very proud of our team.”

This year, the company continued building on its already strong foundation and were able to get back to focusing on its passion — growing sustainable, delicious produce for the world.

“This includes adding new and exciting sustainability initiatives across all levels of the organization from the greenhouse to how we package our produce,” said John Newell. “It’s no secret that sustainability is a huge priority right now for customers and it is something Windset Farms has always been passionate about. Through discussion with numerous industry organizations, suppliers, and consumers, it is apparent that there needs to be major changes to how produce is packaged.”

Windset noticed a lack of proper recycling facilities for plastics so added paper punnets and paper top seal to its line to address this problem.

“Paper punnets and paper top seal can be recycled in the majority of municipalities that have appropriate paper recycling facilities,” Steven Newell said. “Retailers and consumers can feel good knowing the paper is made up of third-party certified sustainable sources”

To start, paper punnets and paper lidding options will be available for Windset Farms Snacking Tomato varieties. More will be introduced in 2022.

The company is thrilled to continue adding to its long list of greenhouse-grown produce.

“Snacking tomatoes continue to be very popular including Symphony Tomato Ensemble, Concerto Grape Tomatoes and Cameo Cherry Tomatoes,” said John Newell. “At Windset Farms, we are constantly testing new varieties to find better taste. This is why our Symphony Medley Tomato pack is always evolving. We now have one of the best tasting, most beautiful Medley Tomato packs on the shelves and it will continue to improve into the future.”

Reflecting on the company’s history, both brothers agree that reaching the 25 year anniversary while still being 100 percent family owned and operated is a huge accomplishment, and it’s only the beginning.

“In the short term, we’re really looking forward to sharing our sustainable packaging advancements with our customers,” John Newell said. “Long term, we will continue to lead the greenhouse industry through technologies, sustainability and growing techniques and feed the world the freshest produce grown in the most sustainable way.”

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