RELATED NEWS

Joe Pillitteri: an equipment dealer steers through the COVID-19 crisis

Joe Pillitteri, owner of Lakeview Vineyard Equipment shares the roller-coaster of managing his Ontario company through a pandemic that’s resulted in cancelled field days and trade shows. 

Brett Schuyler appeals local rules on housing seasonal workers

One farmer’s appeal represents the interests of Ontario’s Norfolk County agricultural sector which is at a competitive disadvantage with nearby growers.

Jane Proctor of CPMA shares her insights on COVID-related food chain issues

Jane Proctor, CPMA, talks with Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower and shares why strong relationships matter in a crisis.

Inventory to sell is more important to retailers than it was this time last year says columnist Peter Chapman. Since the onset of the pandemic, consumers are shopping stores where they believe they have the best chance of getting everything they need in one stop. If you have the inventory your customers want, you are more valuable than many other suppliers.

The $50 million surplus food purchase program will aid food banks and needy groups. But as columnist Owen Roberts writes, the program’s execution arrives plenty late for food producers. 

The Woodstock Ontario show will be digital this year, delivered via video, webinars and live chats during September 15-18. Don’t miss the equipment demos.  

High-wire cucumbers require a lot of labour for transplanting, staking, tying, pruning and harvesting. At Vine Fresh Acres, Jake Neufeld says it takes two people per acre to tend to the crop. Photo by Glenn Lowson.

The repetitive task of crop scouting in greenhouses is being replaced by an automated system with artificial intelligence which can detect pests and disease in real time. This bleeding-edge technology is not for everyone. But it’s a new consideration for Jake Neufeld who manages a labour-intensive crop of high-wire cucumbers near Leamington, Ontario. 

RELATED NEWS

Grape expectations: up and down

After 45 years of farming, it’s safe to say 2020 has been a year like no other for Ernie Wiens. Due to scant rainfall and high temperatures, grape tonnage volumes are expected to be down by 20 per cent. He’s poised to take a brix test of Chardonnay grapes, one of many varieties grown at the family’s 400 acres of vineyards near Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Green light for berry bright future

The Greenbelt Foundation has identified that vertical farming as well as several fruits and vegetables are ripe for expansion in Ontario’s $2.2 billion horticultural sector. They are garlic, eggplant, sweet potatoes, fresh grapes, pears and strawberries. Jeff Tigchelaar, Jordan, Ontario is one berry grower enjoying robust sales at the Ontario Food Terminal.

Fewer hands, less food

Last July, this display of plenty from Oxford County grower John Den Boer was captured at the Ontario Food Terminal. As the summer of COVID-19 unfolds, the variety and volume of fruits and vegetables may not be in such grand array because growers do not have timely access to enough seasonal ag workers for essential planting and harvesting. The legal case of Brett Schuyler signifies the height of the hurdles faced by growers across Canada. 

Coping with changing rules of engagement

Sour cherry trees will be in blossom in May, immune to the world pandemic of COVID-19 virus. Although an uplifting sight, the outstanding question is how they will be harvested in two months. This cover story quotes several horticultural industry leaders on what’s happening now and potential paths forward. 

Canadian food system is up to the test

Seasonal agricultural workers such as Jamaican Willy Green are crucial to the 2020 growing season. The federal government is providing exemptions to the travel ban however logistics are still to be announced. 

RELATED NEWS

Cornell U releases three new apple varieties

Orchardists in New York state and across the U.S. will have access to three new apple varieties:  Cordera, Pink Luster and Firecracker.   

Field practices updated for California leafy greens

More than 50 recommendations have been approved by the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement to revise practices in farm water use and field/equipment sanitation. The action comes after 2019 outbreaks of E. coli-contaminated romaine lettuce. 

United Fresh Convention moves to June 2021

The United Fresh Produce Association and Fresh Produce and Floral Council will hold a joint convention and expo June 24-26, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. 

 

Syngenta Vegetable Seeds offer virtual cucurbit event

The free-to-attend online experience, September 10, aims to connect the vegetable seed industry value chain with exclusive access to Syngenta innovations and experts.

Asia Fruit Logistica goes virtual

Asia Fruit Logistica, originally planned for Singapore, will now be held in a new digital format November 18-20, 2020.

Research assistant Alexandra Gunn (BSc ’19) purges CCOVI’s donated wine into large totes to be delivered to Dillon's Small Batch Distillers and converted into hand sanitizer.

The Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute is contributing to Niagara’s pandemic efforts thanks to a new partnership with Dillon's Small Batch Distillers. Wine, that must be disposed at the end of a research project, is getting a second life as hand sanitizer. 

The University of Calgary School of Public Policy argues that past efforts to recruit domestic farm labour have not worked. That’s why policy changes are needed to encourage and support more foreign labour. Mexico is currently the source of 52 per cent of Canada’s foreign workers.

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FEATURES

  • Thinley Sangpo, Fresh Taste Produce, Ontario Food Terminal. Photo by Glenn Lowson.
    The Grower wins three awards

    The Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation has honoured The Grower in the categories of photography and electronic audio (podcasts) in its first-ever virtual awards.

  • Soil fertility specialist appointed in Ontario

    Dr. Tejendra Chapagain has been hired by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to work with horticultural farmers on cover crops and soil fertility matters. He brings global experience in Nepal and Japan to the role as well as diverse field experience in Canada. 

  • DRC announces leadership changes

    The Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation has announced that Luc Mougeot will become the new president and CEO on January 1, 2021. He will replace the retiring Fred Webber, who has held the role since 2011. 

  • Mike Ecker, winner of CPMA Lifetime Achievement Award

    The Canadian Produce Marketing Association is honouring Mike Ecker, president of Vineland Growers’ Co-operative, for his 45-year career in the produce industry. 

Recent News

Cascades introduces thermoformed cardboard food tray

Recycled and recyclable, this thermoformed cardboard food tray features a water-based coating that protects from moisture.  

Enhanced online waste efficiency tool available

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association is offering an enhanced tool to its members to help reduce waste. Those who used the first version report reduced labour costs because they implemented more effective daily management systems.

Velum Prime nematicide/fungicide label expanded

Bayer Crop Science’s nematicide/fungicide is now labelled for suppression of nematodes on ginseng, caneberries, pome fruit and stone fruit in Canada. 

Mastronardi Produce launches Queen of Greens

Just in time for the PMA virtual Fresh Summit October 13-15, Mastronardi Produce is launching a new lettuce brand:  Queen of Greens. Company patriarch Armando planted lettuce – before tomatoes – when he first came to Canada.

 

Weeding robot now on road trip to French vineyards

Feedback from 20 French winegrowers has helped to refine the latest version of Ted, a robotic weeder now on a roadshow throughout France. It’s available for sale in 2021.  

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OUR COLUMNISTS

Bill studied horticulture at the University ...
Chris Duyvelshoff, is OFVGA's crop protection ...
Gordon Stock is OFVGA's senior policy advisor ...
Owen Roberts is a journalist and a columnist ...
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