Ambrosia apple

The Canadian apple crop is estimated at 18.8 million bushels, 2.3 per cent below last year’s volumes. Don Werden, sales manager, Norfolk Fruit Growers’ Association, reported at the U.S. Apple Outlook Conference in Chicago on August 23. 

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Oleen Smethurst, Costco Canada, focuses on flavour

Oleen Smethurst, general merchandise manager for Costco Canada, flies all over the globe from Berlin to Bogotá to taste test fruits and vegetables.

Nick VanBerlo rides the superfood wave with sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are not native to Canada, but for the VanBerlo family near Simcoe, Ontario, sweet potatoes have become second nature. 

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Soil fitness – just do it!

Fourth-generation grower Kyle Horlings is questioning the way things have always been done. Since 2015, he’s taken about 10 acres of carrots and onions out of production every year for restorative cover plantings. His experiments near King, Ontario garnered him the Healthy Soil Award from the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority in November. 

Frequent flyer earns bonus points for good taste

Oleen Smethurst is known for her quest for flavour. As assistant vice-president, general merchandise manager for produce, Costco Canada, she jets all over the world from Berlin to Bogotá, meeting with growers and seed suppliers. While touring southern Ontario in late August 2019, she visited Martin’s Family Fruit Farm near Waterloo, Ontario.

Grading peaches by the pixel

New packing lines are revolutionizing how tree-ripened tender fruit can be speedily handled and shipped to consumers. The largest peach grower in Ontario, the Tregunno family, installed a Spectrim vision system three years ago at the farm near Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Ryan Tregunno stays sharp for 10 weeks as traffic controller in his computer pit above the lines of peaches and nectarines.

On top of the latest labour-saving equipment

Carrot, parsnip and onion grower Doug Van Luyk is one of those in the Holland Marsh who has expanded to 500 acres in both muck and mineral soils with the help of labour-saving technology. Here, his son Bradley stands on top of a self-propelled, two-row carrot harvester near Newmarket, Ontario. Photo by Glenn Lowson.

Spearheading change with asparagus allies

For the last two years, Rebecca Compton has chaired the Asparagus Farmers of Ontario through a challenging marketing period. While managing 60 acres and an on-farm retail outlet, Big Red Barn near Delhi, Ontario, she encourages her young children – Sable and Anson – to be at home in the field.

The European Union is curbing fruit and potato imports on September 1. The decision is not Canadian-specific. The list includes apples, cranberries, potatoes and other fruits. 

Preventing red blotch virus is an important part of the testing program.

A pathogen-free vineyard starts at the nursery, says Hans Buchler, chair of the Canadian Grapevine Certification Network. He urges grape growers to use federal funds allocated for the current year.

The objective of new federal funding – valued at more than $475,000 - for tender fruits and fresh grapes is to improve fruit quality and availability of new varieties for consumers. 

Weather plus trade wars are making business planning unpredictable.That’s why OFVGA continues to strengthen federal and provincial relationships in case of a rainy day. 

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FEATURES

  • Kwik Lok unveils sustainable bag closure

    A new Eco-Lok closure offers the same safety, quality and rigidity as former plastic closures with lower carbon footprint.

  • Latest technology at FutureTEC Zone

    United Fresh 2019 offers a glimpse into the future with a TEC Zone featuring 24 top ag tech start-up companies. One of those is Montreal-based Motorleaf, which uses artificial intelligence to automate harvest yield estimates and disease scouting in tomato and pepper greenhouses. 

  • Tiny package, huge benefit for cherry growers

    Hazel Technologies Inc., based in Salinas, California, has developed a small, biodegradable and food-safe insert to extend the shelf life of a carton of fresh fruit. Now the post-harvest sachet is being launched for one of the most challenging fruits to keep fresh – cherries.

  • Photo courtesy of Eugenia Banks
    Potato common scab research unveils surprising results

    Scabby potatoes are unmarketable. However, molecular technology has determined that the most predominant species in Ontario might be one that could be controlled with cultural practices.

Recent News

Canadian spud production not enough to meet demand

Despite a 2.4% increase in volume, Canadian potato production is still short of needs. In fact, an unprecedented 20,000 acres were left in the ground --primarily in western Canada -- due to freezing temperatures.  

Better craft beer

In one project supported by the Agricultural Adaptation Council, brewery partners will have access to genomic and metabolomic information in advance of working with every yeast strain. That knowledge will impact different process variables such as temperature on the flavour outcomes of craft beer.

Improving soil health and water quality

On December 5, World Soil Day, the federal and Ontario governments launched a $5.75 million, multi-year project to strengthen environmental stewardship, enhance water quality and improve soil health.

A roadmap to managing plastic packaging

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association and VCM International have released research and analysis regarding plastic packaging in the produce sector. 

BC Icewine harvest began Nov 28

Grower intentions for the BC Icewine harvest are down in 2019 with a total of 125 acres registered. That figure is off the pace of 200 acres in recent years.

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