“Our understanding of the Florida freeze is that the production areas mostly affected were winding down,” Quiring said. “We expect very normal markets in our start-up window.”
While Ontario has had its share of cold winter days, Ray Mastronardi, director of sales and purchasing for Del Fresco Produce, Kingsville, Ontario, said the area has benefited from plenty of sunshine.
“We have been getting more sunny days this winter, which is speeding up when our crops go to market,” he said.
Mastronardi said Jan. 20 that Del Fresco already had started shipping seedless cucumbers. He said tomatoes and bell peppers should start from early to mid-March, “depending on how much sunlight we get in next month.”
Del Fresco added 10 acres of peppers this year and is in the process of expanding its cucumber facility, Mastronardi said.
Sources said growers have completed repairs that were necessary following a June 2010 tornado that caused $24 million in damages to 16 acres.
“All repairs have been made,” said Chris Jacobs, president of Clifford Produce Sales Inc., Ruthven, Ontario. “In fact, some of our family farms have added additional acreage.
“The economy makes expanding a bit more challenging. Our costs of operations have grown, but we are implementing upgraded technology that makes us more efficient. These efficiencies are allowing us to compensate for the additional expenses.”