Houweling’s Tomatoes is an innovative greenhouse operation based in Delta, British Columbia that grows a full array of tomato and cucumber varieties.
The family business was founded by Cornelius Houweling in the mid-1950s as a floral nursery and berry farm in Langley, B.C. Houweling’s son, Casey Houweling, joined the business in 1976 and began shifting the business toward tomatoes in 1985, building a 6-acre tomato greenhouse in Delta, the largest greenhouse in British Columbia at the time.
Today, the business is comprised of three greenhouse locations, in Delta, Camarillo, Calif., and Mona, Utah, totaling 203 acres.
In addition to growing several tomato and cucumber varieties, the operation also has a seedling propagation division specializing in grafted tomato, cucumber and bell pepper seedlings, as well as a full line of consumer home harvest herbs. Houweling’s customer base is made up of national and regional club and retail grocery partners.
“It is a great honor to be nominated and serves as recognition of the hard work, innovation and dedication to the art of growing,” says David Bell, chief marketing officer of Houweling’s Tomatoes. “After all, our passion is growing great tomatoes, and in that is a never ending pursuit for continued improvement.”
According to Bell, Houweling’s has a reputation as an industry innovator. The operation developed and patented the Ultra Clima Greenhouse design, which has now been built all over the world, and installed the first combined heat and power greenhouse in the U.S.
Most recently, Houweling’s Utah greenhouse, added in 2014, was built adjacent to an existing power plant on the national energy grid. It will capture the waste heat and CO2 currently being vented through the power plant exhaust stacks, and use it instead for the greenhouse operation.
The biggest factor that makes Houweling’s stand out is its product origin, Bell says. Houweling’s grows and packs the majority of the product it sells.
“Houweling’s premium snacking range contains bespoke varieties that deliver incredible flavor, visual appeal and overall eating experience,” Bell says. “Houweling’s Signature Medley and Sweetoms Grape tomatoes are two examples.”
Also important to the business is its involvement in both the local and global communities. Locally, Houweling’s regularly hosts school tours, helping to educate youth on the origin of their food while promoting sustainability practices. It also supports student culinary programs by providing product.
On a global scale, Houweling’s started “The Seeds of Tomorrow Project,” a nutrition and agriculture program for a network of schools in a remote region of Guatemala where malnutrition is prevalent. Houweling’s, along with supplier partners, built a seedling greenhouse to allow young plants to develop and be transplanted into the fields and withstand the region’s heavy rains. The business continues to support the program with agricultural training, and is now turning its attention toward the next challenge of assisting cooks within school kitchens with menu planning.