Ontario growers hope warm days lead to hot market - The Packer

Ontario growers hope warm days lead to hot market

06/15/2010 03:22:03 PM
Jim Offner

The outlook is positive for St. Thomas, Ontario-based Whalls Farms, which grows Indian corn, gourds and pumpkins, said office manager Chris Falk.

“So far, everything seems to be going quite well. The weather has been cooperating this spring,” she said. “We’re ahead with our planting by about a couple of weeks ahead. It has been not overly warm but a little warmer than the last couple of years.”

The company is coming off of a mixed performance last year, Falk noted.

“On the corn, it went really well last year,” she said. “With the pumpkins, because of early frost last year, our yield wasn’t quite what was expected. But overall, we did have a good crop last year.”

Oakland, Ontario-based Chary Produce anticipated an early June start for its zucchini and a late June start for cucumbers, said Miriam Worley, co-owner.

“Stuff looks good, but now it’s so hot, it’s growing like crazy,” Worley said. “Hopefully, we keep getting the rains, but it’s really hot. Otherwise, having come through the frost, the stuff does look pretty good.”

Chary also grows sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers and cabbage.

Waterford-based Ontario Sweet Potato started planting its first cuttings from North Carolina in the first week of June, said Bob Proracki, owner.

“The varieties we use are 110- and 115-day varieties,” he said. “We have beareagards, which brings us to the end of September or early October.”

The company grows on 10 acres. Ontario has about 1,500 acres of sweet potatoes.

Wilsonville, Ontario-based Procyk Farms started harvesting zucchini in the first week of June, with cabbage following by about two weeks, said Paul Procyk, owner.

“We’re starting off so far pretty good,” he said.

The company also has sweet corn, peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers.

This season is shaping up to be a nice contrast to 2009, Procyk said.

“Last year was challenging, due to the cool, wet season we had,” he said.

The only real weather concern during the spring was a windstorm that blew through the area, said Tony Moro, president of Bradford-based carrot and onion shipper Bradford & District Produce Ltd. and its parent company, Bradford Cooperative Storages.

“Luckily I think the affected crops and so forth weren’t so much affected,” he said. “It looked a lot worse than it was. I think everyone is pretty well ahead.”

Paul Otter, co-owner of Woodville-based Woodville Farms Ltd., said there had been additional weather issues in his area.

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