Ontario greenhouses add acreage

02/02/2012 06:19:00 PM
Coral Beach

Coral BeachWorkers are scheduled to be finished with this new 15-acre greenhouse at Mucci Farms in Kingsville, Ontario, so that planting can begin this spring. The company expects to begin harvesting specialty tomatoes from this location by early summer.Mucci Farms in Kingsville has 30 new greenhouse acres coming online for 2012, and there are plans for another 45 acres to be added in the coming four to five years, according to Joe Spano, vice president for sales and marketing. A 60,000 square-foot warehouse is also on tap for Mucci.

He estimated the cost of the modern greenhouses with higher roofs to be about $750,000 per acre. Spano said there are about 10,000 plants per acre, adding that the company ships about 100,000 cases of product a week when it is in full harvest mode.

Nature Fresh Farms has been growing so fast that the company has split its projects into numbered phases. Phases one through four include 68 acres of peppers and 32 acres of tomatoes on-the-vine and other specialties, said Jay Colasanti, of the Nature Fresh sales and marketing department.

The company expects to begin harvesting beefsteak tomatoes at its newest greenhouse during the third week of February.

An expansive warehouse and packing facility is coming on line just in time for the beginning of harvest this spring at Phase 3.

Their beefsteak production is anticipated to increase by about 1.5 million boxes, Colasanti said.

Nature Fresh expects to ship more than 5 million cartons of produce in 2012.

Pure Hot House Foods Inc. added a fresh-cut facility in 2010 to handle new product lines. The products were so popular that they contributed to the company’s plans to increased acres in 2011.

Sandra Dick, assistant director of marketing, said Pure Hot House has about 30% more greenhouse acreage than it did last year.

Westmoreland Sales is adding 23 acres of cucumbers this year, including 8 acres of mini cucumbers that are already in production. Westmoreland produces cucumbers year-round in some of its Canadian greenhouses.

Dino Dilaudo, sales consultant for Westmoreland, said the company has 3.5 acres of mini cukes under grow lights to ensure that availability.

“We try to forward contract those from the grow light sections,” Dilaudo said, adding that the grow lights add significantly to the cost of production.


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