Nothing has been easy at EZ Grow Farms for the last pandemic year. And yet, pre-laid plans to expand the footprint of the strawberry plant propagation greenhouse has come to fruition near Langton, Ontario. Dusty Zamecnik is riding a revolution that’s taken the Ontario greenhouse strawberry industry from 50 to 120 acres in the last two years. 

Photo taken pre-pandemic by Glenn Lowson.

The global pandemic continues to have many local impacts, from the ballooning costs of housing temporary foreign workers during the 14-day quarantine to short supplies of wooden pallets. One spot of good news is the vaccination clinic at the Ontario Food Terminal where just under 6,900 frontline workers, agri-business staff and immediate families were vaccinated in May. This young worker is scooping up bundles of fresh rhubarb to fulfill an order at the terminal’s farmers’ market. 

For growers Dino Mastronardi, left and son Dean Mastronardi, right, the day-to-day Leamington, ON operations for the Topline brand of English cucumbers are all-consuming. It’s the job of Dino DiLaudo, centre, to be aware of opportunities and threats in the marketplace in his role of VP, sales and marketing for Westmoreland Sales. About 25% of their cucumber crop is destined for the U.S. where the International Trade Commission is examining the impact of imported cucumbers on seasonal markets.

In recent years, the mergers of global crop protection companies promised robust R & D pipelines.  But the reality is that fewer products and label extensions will come to horticulture. That’s because there’s a bottleneck of reduced trial capacity at the Pest Management Centre says apple grower Charles Stevens, Newcastle, ON. 

 

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