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Bees are crucial to the Canadian horticultural industry as they pollinate a multitude of crops, everything from cranberries to cucurbits. Here, a bee hunkers down into an apple blossom at The Big R Apple Farm near Brampton, Ontario. Photo by David Bianchi.

Bee health and neonicotinoids – a smoking gun?

 Like bees, farmers have been set on ‘vibrate’ this winter. But it’s not to keep warm. Rather they are intensely debating how best to support bee health and respond to the Ontario government’s plan to restrict neonicotinoid-treated seeds for corn and soybeans. While horticultural pesticides are currently not affected … [read more]

Charlie Hebdo reminds us freedom is under attack

More than ever, the challenge to the freedom of expression is on the minds of everyone, following the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in France. Extremist activities touch all aspects of society, including agriculture. In agriculture, the challenges are less overt than guns blazing and people dying. Violence is not a focal point, … [read more]

How changing economics are negatively impacting soil health

 When beef cattle graze pasture and hay lands, it’s good for the environment. Perennial pastures build soil organic matter, are less susceptible to erosion, have almost no nutrient runoff, and they create some habitat for … [read more]

Effective communication with category managers

  When developing and growing relationships with category managers, communication is a very important piece to the puzzle. You need to ensure their perception of you and your business is as accurate and positive as possible. … [read more]

Resolutions needed for 2015

I had the chance this fall to ride in the combine one night with my neighbour. It has been a welcome opportunity that I have had over the years, but not every year because sometimes … [read more]

We all have a stake in the future

One of the key events for horticultural producers in Ontario is the 2015 Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention (OFVC). The value that comes out of this meeting is beyond what happens on the trade … [read more]

Northern Italy’s apple expertise is showcased on ITFA tour

If Italy looks like a boot to you, look up, way up. At the northern reaches of that fashionable piece of geography, you will find the South Tyrol – a region whose history is … [read more]

Growers recommend unique produce for farmers’ markets

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Exotic pest is threatening common crops

 Don’t shoot the messenger. Virginia Tech’s Doug Pfeiffer is coming to Ontario to warn about spotted wing drosophila (SWD) in grapes. The invasive species is present in several Canadian provinces, and to date, has threatened … [read more]

Bitten by fire blight, orchardists look to preventive tactics

Apple growers in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia learned a hard lesson in 2014. Fire blight flourished under warm temperatures and rainy skies, infiltrating blossoms and re-emerging weeks later as a bacteria that killed trees. … [read more]

Hop growers aspire to $50 million, Ontario craft beer market

Hops growers can only salivate over their beers on how to crack the $50 million craft market that’s evolved seemingly out of nowhere. With only 50 acres of hopyards in the province, there’s ample opportunity … [read more]

Farmers’ Markets Ontario marks milestone of 25 years

 There’s lots to celebrate at the Farmers’ Markets Ontario symposium at this year’s Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention. A 25th anniversary is reason enough to join the seminars on February 18 and 19, but also … [read more]

Taking advantage of weeds’ weaknesses

KRISTEN OBEID Dr. Seuss: “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” The simple answer to controlling weeds in an organic production system is “know your weeds.” If you know what you … [read more]

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