Koornneef Produce preps for greenhouse
The Ontario greenhouse season has begun, said Fred Koornneef, president of Grimsby-based Koornneef Produce Ltd., which owns a stall inside the Ontario Food Terminal in Toronto.
Koornneef expects the first local greenhouse tomatoes Feb. 20, followed by clusters a few days later, with local peppers starting March 1.
A new crop of local greenhouse English cucumbers began in early January, he said. His mini cucumber supplier now grows under lights year-round.
“Customers appreciate the quality of our mini cukes,” he said.
“They’re a hard item to grow and get consistent quality. When they come from other countries they seem to go yellow very quickly. Ontario stuff holds up quite well.”
Koorneeff said sales are up and he had a great 2011.
“Moving into the market was the best business decision I ever made,” he said.
“Our staff has more than doubled, and there are lots of people applying for jobs so we get to pick the best of the best.”
North American Produce boosts cherry volume
Steve Davidson of North American Produce Buyers Ltd. in the Ontario Food Terminal plans to pack and sell the products of five British Columbia cherry growers this summer.
“They’re doing a fabulous job, but we had to convince them that our customers want the quality cherries they used to send overseas, and they’re willing to pay for it,” Davidson said.
Last summer, North American sold black cherry Tabletree juice from LW Truscott Farms in Creston, British Columbia, one of the growers it will pack for this year.
Along with the company’s Chilean program, Davidson said North American will be able to offer cherries 10 to 12 months a year.
“Chile has the best fruit in winter, and it gives our customers a reliable, consistent program from November to June, when California starts,” he said.
Tomato King plans packaged produce line
Tomato King’s goal this year is to achieve Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points certification in its newly-renovated warehouse and launch a line of packaged produce, said president Vince Carpino at the Ontario Food Terminal.
“We’ve been working on HACCP for a while, taking baby steps because there’s so much work involved. With the industry going in that direction, it’s something we have to do,” Carpino said.