Consumer interest leads companies to explore locally grown movement

02/05/2010 03:04:48 PM
Ashley Bentley

LEAMINGTON, Ontario — The local movement may be helping some Ontario growers move product in their own country, as well as in the U.S.

“People are asking questions more and more about buying local,” said Mark Slater, co-owner of Erie James Ltd.

“Consumers are more educated than they’ve ever been, and we’re trying to take care of that demand in our local markets when we can.”

Erie James produces seedless cucumbers in Ontario year-round.

“It’s probably one of the only commodities you can grow 12 months a year,” Slater said. “Ten years ago, you couldn’t buy greenhouse product year-round from anywhere.”

The company tries to keep its import window as small as possible, Slater said.

The biggest foreign competition for Kingsville-based Cornies Farms Ltd.’s English cucumbers during the winter comes from Spain and Mexico.

“We don’t have 2,000 miles on our cukes, and we don’t have to cross two borders either,” said James Cornies, president of Cornies Farms.

The company uses the Foodland Ontario logo on many of its packages, symbolizing to Ontario shoppers that the product was grown and produced in Ontario.

“It’s just a little symbol we put on our labels and packages to let people know it was grown in Ontario,” Cornies said.

The Foodland Ontario program is run by the government of Ontario.



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