Evergreen Herbs Ltd. & Roots Organic Inc.
Evergreen Herbs Ltd., home of Roots Organic Inc., has been serving the growing demand for fresh herbs, vegetables and organic niche produce items and specialty products for the last 20 years. Evergreen Herbs serves retailers and food service customers, offering anything but run-of-the-mill produce. The company specializes in unique items and often hard-to-find products such as edible flowers, watermelon radish, organic black garlic, microgreens, crystalized herbs, dragon fruit, super sweet carrots and a plethora of other intriguing items.
Based in the heart of Canada’s produce country in Surrey, British Columbia, Evergreen Herbs has grown through a dedicated, creative team that strives to deliver excellent service and support. Evergreen Herbs is committed to sustainable farming, locally grown produce, exceptional quality and constant innovation. The company’s commitment to these four factors has seen the business achieve record growth in recent years.
Family-run Evergreen Herbs started as a traditional farm, growing onions, carrots and lettuce. In 1996, brothers Ron and TJ Brar established Evergreen Herbs to diversify and keep the business moving forward. Not only did the business stay afloat, it flourished as more customers found out and became interested in unique produce items.
In order to satisfy the ever-growing demand for organic produce, Roots Organic was created Dec. 4, 2004, as the organic section of the Evergreen Herbs Farm. Today, Evergreen Herbs has 120 greenhouses with 40 acres of traditional production and 100 acres of organics. The company is Safe Quality Food (SQF) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certified. Evergreen Herb’s robust organic program is certified through the Fraser Valley Organic Producers Association (FVOPA).
Focused on quality, constant improvement
With a full-time quality assurance team, Evergreen Herbs puts food safety and quality first at all times. “Our quality control and the level of customer service we offer are probably the biggest things that separate us, but also the fact that we invest so much money every year to better our product line and offerings,” says Ron Brar, president and co-founder of Evergreen Herbs.
Striving for constant improvement, Evergreen Herbs has added acreage in recent years and now has 140 acres in production. “We have added more greenhouses, cold storage and equipment and revamped our existing propagation greenhouse into a more modern facility,” says Ron. “Adding all of this greenhouse space has helped us by having local produce available earlier and later in the season than our competitors.”
Through the spring and fall, Evergreen Herbs grows 90 percent of the items it is packing and shipping on premise. “Herbs, specialty herbs, baby vegetables, colored carrots and beets, dark greens such as kale, collard and chard, field cucumbers, squash sunchockes, rhubarb, wheatgrass, microgreens—you name it and we grow it here,” says Ron. In the offseason the company sources from growers around the work, from parts of the U.S. and Mexico to Israel, Europe and Africa.
Fresh, flavorful new products
Amid ongoing expansion, Evergreen Herbs is also gearing up for some exciting new product launches. “We have a bunch of new items that we will launch in the next few months,” reveals Ron.
One new item is an organic herb paste that effectively captures all of the flavor, aroma and appearance of fresh herbs and spices, but keeps for much longer in the refrigerator. “We have started venturing into more processed, value-added produce items like herb pastes,” says Ron. The handy herb paste comes in a range of flavors to accompany any recipe: basil, cilantro, ginger, garlic, dill, seafood or barbecue blend and a pasta blend.
For those who love the taste of fresh herbs, Evergreen Herbs now offers complete pesto kits, including all of the ingredients to make a fresh batch of basil pesto at home. The kit includes fresh basil, olive oil, cheese and pine nuts.
Ron says Evergreen Herbs has seen a big push for more organic products on the retail and food service side, as well as more grab-and-go, quick and healthy meal options. “We continue to add more items for easy health meals for customers on the go,” says Ron.
Need a fast but tasty side dish? Evergreen Herbs prepackaged seasoning sizzlers are ready to cook, complete with just the right amount of seasoning. The options include Greek-style zucchini, Sichuan green beans and garlic parmesan carrots.
For customers who can’t decide on exactly what to cook that night Evergreen Herbs now offers an organic farmers box. The 5-pound box is packed full of a variety of fresh, seasonal produce, straight from the farm. “As the ‘eat local’ movement continues, options like these will be more and more popular,” says Ron.
New products that fit what consumers are looking for in the produce section have helped Evergreen Herbs overcome a weak local economy. Expanding its local supply with added greenhouse capacity has also helped boost business. “This past season the strong U.S. dollar and the week Canadian economy has been challenging,” says Ron. “By adding more greenhouse acreage we can reduce the amount we’re importing, especially when rates are high. We have been gaining a lot of operational efficiencies in-house by having our management team doing SKU rationalization in terms of supplies and also changed things up in our packing house.”
With this in place and a dedicated team at the helm, Evergreen Herbs hopes to grow by 15 percent annually, adding new items, new markets and greater processing capabilities. For the last 20 years, Evergreen Herbs & Roots Organic has attracted business through atypical items and an interesting approach to local produce.