Episode 122: Lori Castillo
NatureSweet is a powerhouse, iconic brand selling the best tasting tomatoes in North America who’s focused on transforming the lives of agricultural workers around the continent.
Do you ever taste the difference between a take-out meal and one that you spent hours at home cooking? For some reason, you can’t explain what the difference is, but it truly does taste better. That’s exactly the difference between NatureSweet tomatoes and any others on the market. The company is dedicated to caring about their associates first, and deeply loves the products they produce. Lori Castillo, Vice President of Marketing, has reinforced that with the two principles behind NatureSweet: hard work and giving it ‘our’ all.
NatureSweet started out with only a few hectares of production in 1990 in Devine, Texas and today they are one of the largest growers in North America. You’ve probably seen the iconic, recyclable containers at your grocery store and purchased them for your salads, soups, sauces or pasta dishes. They’re most well known for their Cherubs (sweet, grape tomatoes), but are helping the fresh tomato category grow with their Glorys, Twilights, Comets, D’Vines, and Constellations, all of which are flavor-packed and grown with love.
Although Cherubs are still the number one selling small tomato in the category and are a household staple, consumers are venturing out of their comfort zone and experimenting with many of the other NatureSweet tomatoes. Lori and the NatureSweet family have enjoyed seeing people play with the trend of colorful dishes with their Constellation packs and bringing in contrast to plates with Twilights.
Bringing you the best tomatoes possible starts with paying attention to how the company treats Mother Nature.
Since NatureSweet is a greenhouse grower, all of their plants are planted in coconut husks rather than soil. This helps the tomatoes resist more diseases and even uses up to 80% less water.
One of the main focuses at NatureSweet is reducing their carbon footprint and being responsible in their growing, packaging and transporting processes. NatureSweet is able to recycle some of the water they use, makes all of their packaging from recycled material, and is even looking at ways to make freight lines more efficient.
Fun fact: did you know you can keep their tomatoes in their packaging and use it as a colander? The amount of goodness NatureSweet tomatoes brings to you, the consumer, are endless! It helps to know when you are purchasing their tomatoes, you’re supporting a company that’s reducing their environmental impact and their packages can be reused as containers, and as a tool to teach kids how to count money, learn colors, and much more.
“It gives you this premium feel when you can cook with the vine on and put that beautiful presentation on a charcuterie dish or really try to impress the family, it’s not only nutritious, but delicious.” – Lori Castillo (10:20-10:34)
Yes, NatureSweet even sells a line of tomatoes called D’Vine that are still on the vine. You can roast them and add them to a charcuterie board and elevate any dish, which is important now that you’re most likely cooking at home more. Seeing that pop of color and the added value of providing your family fresh produce that’s still on the vine is a way for anyone in the kitchen (novice to expert) to feel more empowered.
What’s Lori Castillo’s new obsession? NatureSweet’s Comet tomatoes. These delicious tomatoes are similar to the sunburst tomatoes that used to be popular that were yellow and very sweet. Comets have an improved flavor and are the sweetest in the NatureSweet line. Lori loves to eat them as a snack during a Zoom meeting or between calls. They’re perfect for a pop of sweet that’s guilt-free, colorful and might even be a conversation starter!
How to get involved
- Join The Produce Moms Group on Facebook and continue the discussion every week!
- Reach out to us – we’d love to hear more about where you are in life and business! Find out more here.
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