TopLine Farms looking forward to summer season
- by Keith Loria | July 23, 2020
Family is a word heard often at TopLine Farms, as the greenhouse grower operates thanks to the hard work of five families that came together to grow and ship their specialty produce and organic lines. It’s also how they try to treat their customers.
Customers dealing with TopLine know it is more than just another name, and are treated with exceptional customer service.
“That’s a key,” said Joe Talbourdet, director of marketing for the Leamington, ON-based company. “You need to be customer-centric and show people that they matter.”
By growing greenhouse produce year-round — with its tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers being staples in households — TopLine has been able to offer its customers what they need during this uncertain time.
“We’re having a very good season so far,” Talbourdet said. “We’re seeing incredible year-over-year pricing differences on certain commodities at different times. Many of these differences can be directly related to the challenges being experienced across our industry due to COVID-19 events and the effect it is having on consumer and foodservice markets.”
The company has implemented a series of safety precautions, providing PPE including facemasks, face shields, adapting social distancing measures by staggering breaks to ensure guidance and suggestion put forth by the health professionals are followed. Frequent cleaning and sanitation of high-touched surfaces are performed daily throughout the facility.
One of the secrets to overcoming the current challenges, he noted, is keeping things simple with its retail partners.
“Many scaled back to the simple commodities and it allowed us to ramp up where we could maintain products for everybody,” Talbourdet said. “By not having to worry about a nine-ounce this and a four-ounce that, we could just take our big commodities and make sure that was flowing and now we are slowly reintroducing some custom packs back to our retail partners.”
Despite the challenges, TopLine is looking forward to a strong summer season.
“We have growth plans that we are continuing forward with on the acreage of high-tech glass in the Leamington area,” Talbourdet said. “This will include upwards of 25 acres of lit culture, which will allow us to be 365 on commodities.”
The loss of most trade shows has the company looking for other avenues to promote and is taking part in the virtual PMA Fresh Summit event. “It’s something brand new for us,” Talbourdet said. “We very much like the ability to meet our retail partners, to talk with them and have them taste our products.