Organzo growers export to Asia
Organzo, a St.-Hilaire-based network of eight Quebec growers who specialize in Asian food, shipped its first two containers of napa cabbage to South Korea this summer.
“Everybody thinks Asian produce is shipped to North America and it’s impossible to do the reverse, but we discovered that some Asians don’t trust the Chinese product they’re importing, and they’re looking for foreign alternatives,” said president Julie Nichols.
Nichols said a Korean living in Ontario helped her arrange the sale.
To extend the season for Asian vegetables, Organzo has added a grower in Dixie, Ga., who Nichols met at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit 2011.
The group sells about 70% of its products in the U.S.
Nichols said the grower started harvesting in late October, after the Quebec season ended, and will open the market for Asian produce in Quebec in the spring.
Productions Margiric adds line for RPCs
With the end of the growing season, Laval, Quebec-based Productions Margiric Inc. plans to modify its packing line for next year, said marketing director Mario Cloutier.
Cloutier said Brampton, Ontario-based Loblaw Cos. Ltd. has requested that all fruit and vegetables be packed in reusable plastic cartons starting with the first spring crops.
“We’re going to have to change all our sizers to carry the boxes, and we’ll end up with separate packing lines for Loblaws, Metro and IGA,” Cloutier said.
“We have to be ready to face this new challenge,” he said.
QPMA rolls out kits for kids’ care centers
With statistics showing that 50% of the food children eat between birth and the age of 5 is provided at child care centers, the St.-Leonard-based Quebec Produce Marketing Association has created a kit for kids that makes eating fruits and vegetables fun.
“Food preferences that become established around age two are known to last up to age 20, so it’s important to start familiarizing children with a wide range of flavors by the time they’re 6 months old,” said QPMA executive director Sophie Perreault.
Since September, the colorful kit, published in French, has been distributed free to more than 2,600 child care centers across Quebec.
It features the well-known character Mandoline, and includes a game to match fruits and vegetables, recipes for nutritious dips and a checklist that encourages kids to use their five senses when tasting a new fruit or vegetable.