Canadian greenhouse produce production ramps up

03/08/2012 11:21:00 AM
Susie Cable

Nature Fresh Farms Inc., Leamington, began harvesting greenhouse-grown seedless cucumbers, mini seedless cucumbers and beefsteak tomatoes on Feb. 15, said Jay Colasanti, sales and marketing representative.

The company expects to produce about 1.6 million cartons of beefsteak tomatoes this season. Nature Fresh expects its seedless cucumber and specialty vegetable crops to reach more than 800,000 cartons.

Colasanti said he expected colored bell peppers to be ready for harvest in early March. Nature Fresh’s largest volume crop is peppers, and it expects to ship 2.1 million cartons of peppers this season.

The company’s Amorosa cocktail tomatoes and Kiss-brand high-brix multicolored grape tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes and tomatoes on the vine should be in full production by mid-March, Colasanti said.

It expects to ship 1.6 million cartons of tomatoes on the vine.

Greenhouse vegetables also are on schedule for Kingsville, Ontario-based Mucci International Marketing Inc., said Joe Spano, vice president of sales and marketing.

Its Canada-grown cucumbers are in production year-round, although volumes are typically lower in November and December. Cluster tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes and peppers were expected to be ready for harvest in mid- to late March.

"The crops look good," Spano said. "We’re happy so far."

Spano said Mucci expects to ship volumes of peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers similar to last year’s.

During an average week, it ships 70,000 to 100,000 cases of peppers, 60,000 to 75,000 cases of beefsteak tomatoes, 40,000 to 60,000 cases of tomatoes on the vine, and 70,000 to 80,000 cases of cucumbers, he said.

Prices were "a little depressed" because there was a lot of volume in the market in late February, Spano said. DiMenna also said tomato prices were "quite low" in February because of a large supply of tomatoes in the market.

Greenhouse vegetables were in production from all growing regions, and DiMenna said he expected prices to remain low until production transitioned from Mexico to Canada.

"I expect markets to remain at lower-than-comfortable levels," he said.

On March 5, greenhouse one-layer flats of vine-ripes 22-32s crossings from Mexico through Nogales, Ariz., received $4.95-7. On March 1, 2011, one-layer flats of vine-ripe greenhouse tomatoes 22-32s crossings from Mexico through Nogales received $16.95.

Quon said he expects demand for greenhouse vegetables to stay relatively flat, and prices likely will be "fairly stable."

"Consumption (of greenhouse vegetables) is up only slightly," Quon said.

"It could put some pressure on pricing."


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