Ontario greenhouse growers report that consumer desire for organic product remains strong.
“The demand for organics is increasing year-over-year, and we do not see this stopping at any point,” said Pure Hothouse Foods chief marketing officer Chris Veillon. “Consumers are looking for more options at retail.”
The Leamington, Ontario-based company, which markets under the Pure Flavor brand, grows organic tomatoes on the vine, beefsteak tomatoes, red grape tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers, long English cucumbers and mini cucumbers.
Kingsville-based Red Sun Farms has added beefsteak tomatoes to its organic lineup, which also includes mini cucumbers, cucumbers, peppers and grape tomatoes, said senior director of sales Harold Paivarinta.
Leamington-based NatureFresh Farms is also expanding its program because of growing demand.
“With additional acreage coming into production this spring NatureFresh is planning to double production over the next two years in organic bell peppers,” said Kara Badder, marketing project manager.
Kingsville-based Double Diamond Farms has a new 10-acre facility coming online that will substantially increase its organic cucumber supply, with the season going from March through December, said director of procurement and grower relations Jeremy Stockwell.
Leamington-based Westmoreland, which markets under the TopLine Farms brand, has also seen continued growth in organic.
“We have seen our organic business continually grow and we have increased our organic plantings in preparation for our local season to keep up with the growing demand,” said account and marketing manager Jimmy Coppola.
Joe Spano, vice president of sales and marketing for Kingsville-based Mucci Farms, also reported steady interest in the segment.
“I don’t think all (stock keeping units) are meant to be organic, or all items are going to be successful in organic, but there definitely is a handful of organic SKUs that continue to show a tremendous amount of growth,” Spano said.
Whether certain greenhouse growing methods should be able to qualify as organic has been a subject of contention in the industry.
In November the National Organic Standards Board voted 8-7 to allow hydroponic and aquaponic methods to continue to be eligible for organic certification.