More than 130 entries were in the running at the seventh annual Greenhouse Competition at the Leamington Agriculture Fair, with greenhouse growers Mucci International, Nature Fresh Farms, Mastronardi Produce, and Orangeline Farms taking top honors.
Growers from Mucci International, Kingsville, Ontario, took two best overall awards, earning crystal trophies for green pepper and cucumber entries.
Mastronardi Produce, Kingsville, won the People’s Choice in the tomato and pepper categories with Mini-Kumato and Sweet Twister varieties, respectively.
Nature Fresh Farms, Leamington, won best overall tomato for beefsteak tomatoes.
Orangeline Farms, Leamington, won the People’s Choice award for mini cucumbers.
The annual competition celebrates Essex County as having the highest concentration of greenhouses in North America, said competition organizer Art Barron, president of R.E.A.C.H. (Relief, Education, And CHild sponsorship) International.
R.E.A.CH., a volunteer organization, focuses on helping children in Uganda, with proceeds building schools, clinics and water wells. The proceeds from last year’s competition raised enough money to sponsor 50 children in Uganda, Barron said.
For the 2013 competition, judges included a representative from the Ontario Ministry of Agricultural, Heinz Corp., local grocery store produce managers and chefs. The public cast ballots for the People’s Choice awards in each category.
Additional winners this year included:
Perfect Pepper Competition
Best Overall Pepper: Mucci International
People’s Choice: Mastronardi Produce (Sunset Sweet Twister)
Best Green Bell Pepper: Mucci International
Best Red Bell Pepper: Mucci International
Best Yellow Bell Pepper: Nature Fresh Farms (Crosby)
Best Orange Bell Pepper: Mastronardi Produce
Best Specialty Sweet Pepper: Orangeline Farms
Best Specialty Hot Pepper: Westmoreland/Topline Produce (Topline Chilis)
Coolest Cucumber Competition
Best Overall Cucumber: Mucci International
People’s Choice: Orangeline
Best English Seedless Cucumber: Jem D Farms
Best Mini Seedless Cucumber: Mucci International
Hottest Tomato Competition
Best Overall Tomato: Nature Fresh Farms beefsteak
People’s Choice: Mastronardi Produce (Sunset Mini-Kumato)
Best Beefsteak Tomato: Nature Fresh Farms
Best Roma Tomato: Nature Fresh Farms (Red Egg)
Best Cluster/Tomatoes on the vine: Mastronardi Produce (Sunset Loomato)
Best Cocktail Tomato: Mastronardi Produce (Sunset Kumato)
Best Bite-Size Tomato: Jem D Farms
Best Specialty Tomato: Nature Fresh Farms