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This Jamaican crew takes a breather from picking cherries on a 33°C July day. Murray Porteous, in red, says that Ontario’s increase in minimum wage to $11 per hour has forced him to trim his labour force from 57 to 43 workers this year. Maintaining good working relationships is key to productivity. Photo by Glenn Lowson.

Help! How to strengthen relationships with seasonal workers

WATERFORD, Ontario -- Delroy didn’t leave on a jet plane this year to work on an Ontario fruit farm. The Jamaican veteran of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) was digitally fingerprinted and then matched to his home country’s citizenship files. The system discovered a glitch in his records: a … [read more]

Tabletop lettuce is newest greenhouse product

Garden-variety lettuce just took a pedestal position in the produce department. Tabletop lettuce is different because of how it’s grown and consumed. It’s rooted in rockwool, a natural and compostable product, then packaged and sold in a plastic sleeve. Requiring no refrigeration because it’s still in its growing medium, the … [read more]

Transparency must accompany new technology and products

  I believe the sweeping changes taking place in crop protection -- especially when it comes to traditional chemicals -- are for the best. But they’re going to take as much explaining to consumers as to … [read more]

Pesticide use data will help education efforts

 Ontario’s fruit, vegetable and field crop growers are being asked to record their crop protection use this season through the confidential and anonymous Ontario Pesticide Survey. The results are important to demonstrate responsible use and … [read more]

Target stumbles out of the gate

In 2013, Target launched their ambitious entry into the Canadian marketplace. Target is a player in the Canadian food business, currently operating 127 stores in Canada. It has 1,797 stores in the U.S. and … [read more]

Expect staggered bloom for lavender

  Calendar-worthy photos may be in short supply this month as the Ontario lavender crop is recovering from a harsh winter. Many lavender-themed festivals will be challenged to be in full bloom. “Damage to lavender is … [read more]

Mexican market represents opportunity for Canadian potatoes

 KEVIN MacISAAC On May 19, Mexico’s border opened beyond the 16-mile radius which has been in place since 2000, for importation of potatoes from the U.S. The United Potato Growers of America has watched this development … [read more]

Science integrity at the crossroads

 NOTE: The following column was written before I had a call-back from PMRA to discuss the issue. They are in fact still working on this document. Nonetheless, the following expresses the very concerns I gave … [read more]

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