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An Innovative Spell

An Innovative Spell

If you’ve seen the reflection of a tree branch hanging low across the water, then you can imagine my pen hovering over this page. As a writer, I strive to graft meaning onto the everyday. Within December’s chill is a bountiful space for such contemplation, as both myself and the industry look back at another year of challenges met and successes struck.

Perhaps none understand the importance of this meaning-making as well as Mastronardi Produce®. Like me, the team that brings the SUNSET® brand to life is seeking out the impossible and turning it into reality. As someone who plucks words from the sky to convey her own understanding of the universe, what Mastronardi does is akin to magic.

Weaving this spell with me is Julia Shreve, Director, Marketing, Brand and Innovation, who tells a story of just how far innovation can take a company—and what the fruit of those endeavors spells for its future.

Anne Allen: Julia, we’ve reached the end of another monumental year for the industry as a whole, but especially for you and the company. Can you speak to how Mastronardi Produce continues to balance meeting market trends with delivering on flavor and quality?

Julia Shreve, Director, Marketing, Brand and Innovation, Mastronardi Produce: Innovation is a big focus area for us, and so is finding the best in quality and flavor. That’s why we invest significantly in research and development and work with the best experts in the world to have access to exclusive varieties and world-leading expertise in sustainable greenhouse growing. From there, we trial new varieties for three to four years in our greenhouses before we determine if they’re good enough to be commercialized under our brand.

Bottom line, we are able to provide quality and flavor because we grow everything in state-of-the-art greenhouses that allow for more control and extra care.

“...we trial new varieties for three to four years in our greenhouses before we determine if they’re good enough to be commercialized under our brand.”

Julia Shreve, Director, Marketing, Brand and Innovation, Mastronardi Produce®

AA: I think part of the magic behind Mastronardi Produce is its ability to bring those flavors to life visually. With this in mind, what drove the decision behind rebranding the Wild Wonders® line?

JS: It really begins with our story of traveling the globe to find the best flavors available. For the last 70 years, it has been the Mastronardi family’s goal to bring unforgettable flavor to everyone. Discover The World’s Flavors™ isn’t just something we say. We literally search the world to find the unique flavors that go into every variety, and then bring those varieties back to our greenhouses to grow and, eventually, share with everyone.

Our team has worked hard at bringing this story to life through creative imagery, and we couldn’t be happier with how the Wild Wonders branding turned out. We’re proud to reveal this new look, as it truly encompasses family history and passion for good flavor.

AA: This line speaks to that passion, as well as the passion of someone discovering adventures in food. How do you see both your products and your company emboldening the consumer to seek out joy in the world of produce?

JS: Our vision is focused on delivering the entire package: fun branding and a story of how we seek incredible flavor for everyone. Our mission of inspiring healthy living through WOW flavor experiences and striving to make healthy eating fun serves our consumers well. It’s the driving force behind why we’re always innovating and coming up with new ways to bring the best flavor and marketing to them.

We believe everyone should have access to quality produce that not only tastes good, but also provides a lasting memory. That’s why we’ve created fun, whimsical imagery for our Wild Wonders offerings—they aren’t just delicious to taste; they are also providing excitement on the shelves, one package at a time.

AA: When crafting lines like Wild Wonders, what is top of mind for the team?

JS: Quality and flavor come first, always. And while flavor is what will keep consumers coming back for more, it’s the overall aesthetic that attracts them to pick up our product off the shelf in the first place. That’s why the entire process­—from the growing and harvesting of the crop to the marketing, packaging, and shipping—is so important to get right. Our philosophy is simple: We never settle for anything but the best—and we don’t stop until we get there!

Several proprietary game-changing varieties, including the Wild Wonders lineup, are a result of the incredible time and dedication we’ve put into finding and growing the best-tasting fruits and vegetables on the planet.

AA: It’s obvious to me that we can always expect great things from Mastronardi Produce. I know I’m being greedy, but is there anything you can tease regarding plans for 2022?

JS: Lettuce is a big priority for us in 2022. You can expect to see more greenhouse-grown lettuce from us in the new year. We are also continuing to invest in the latest and most advanced knowledge—and that includes continuing to find new ways to become a more sustainable, more innovative provider of quality, flavorful food. We’re always looking for new ways to be sustainable while making our produce—and how it tastes—that much better!

Mirroring a beginning is one of my favorite ways to draw the year to a close. Just as Mastronardi Produce will be reflecting on weaving dreams into tangible flavors, I will be sitting here, pen in hand, waiting to write them down.