At NatureFresh™ Farms, we are always searching for the next big thing in produce.
Our team has been trialing unique varieties in our greenhouses for many years, but our commitment to research and development has evolved – bringing us to an entirely different level of innovation within our industry.
In 2015, we established the Discovery Center – a 2.5-acre trial greenhouse and research center located in Leamington, ON. At NatureFresh™, the Discovery Center is where new product innovations are born!
The Discovery Center brings together agricultural science, product trialing, and consumer feedback to facilitate more efficient product research and development.Download PDF
At the beginning of a new trial season, our expert Trial Development team travels the world, seeking out new seed varieties to test in the Discovery Center.
NatureFresh™ works with dozens of different seed companies from all over the world – the Netherlands, France, Canada, the list goes on!
With a 2.5-acre facility dedicated to trialing, NatureFresh™ can conduct over 250 different seed trials every season!
Once the plants in our trial greenhouse begin to bear fruit, our team starts taking weekly samples of ripened fruit. We store these samples in drawers along a master wall for later testing.
To test these samples, our team measures their brix levels (the balance between sweetness and acidity). They also conduct tests for overall quality, production levels, and shelf life.
As the plants mature and the flavor of their fruits begins to develop, consumer panel sessions begin!
Individuals from outside of the Trial Development team are invited into the Discovery Center to taste and rate their experience with each unique variety.
During consumer panel sessions, tasters judge the varieties that NatureFresh™ is trialing against other varieties in the marketplace – without even knowing it! Our Trial Development team keeps sample information top secret from all tasters so they stay as unbiased as possible in their feedback.
Consumer panel sessions take place in a private room lit with red light – this environment removes the elements of sight and sound, allowing the taster to focus solely on the sample’s flavor profile!
Our Trial Development team collects the data from consumer panel sessions to see what varieties consumers enjoy most. This helps us identify the “hot” varieties in the Discovery Center, and pass on the “nots”.
One product can spend years going through the Discovery Center program, but once it is perfected, the next step is bringing it to the marketplace.
As NatureFresh™ continues to grow, the Discovery Center will remain as one of our main innovation hubs for new products.
We have seen many exceptional products go through the Discovery Center trial program – one of our most recent “graduates” from the program is the Tomberry® Tomato! After just one year in our trial program, we were able to bring this tiny Tomato to market (and we haven’t looked back since).