Carl Mastronardi, president of Del Fresco Pure, received the Ontario Produce Marketing Association's Cory Clack-Streef Produce Person of the Year Award. ( Courtesy Ontario Produce Marketing Association. )

The Ontario Produce Marketing Association honored members of the industry at the OPMA 27th Annual Gala and Awards Ceremony.

The Nov. 9 event brought 500 industry members together in Vaughan, Ontario.

Carl Mastronardi, president of Del Fresco Produce Ltd., Kingsville, Ontario, received the Cory Clack-Streef Produce Person of the Year Award, for his work developing and expanding the Ontario greenhouse strawberry industry, according to a news release.

In August, Del Fresco Pure launched the second phase of its strawberry production, increasing from six to a total of 17 acres. The company at the time credited its YES!Berries with driving the demand.

The expansion and lighting systems used at Del Fresco expands strawberry production to 10 months a year, according to the release.

Phil Burkholder of Rouge River Farms received the OPMA Fresh Award, which is given to “a young individual who demonstrates a fervent determination to improve the quality, distribution or consumption of fruits and vegetables,” according to the release.

Ken Lyons of Blue Mountain Fruit Co. received the OPMA Outstanding Achievement award for work and dedication in establishing the Red Prince apple as a “high-value product for the Ontario produce industry,” according to the release.

There were two recipients of the OPMA Lifetime Achievement award: Ron Webb and Lewis Collins. Webb previously worked for Dole Fresh Vegetables in sales, and Collins worked for Stronarch and Sons before retiring, according to the release.

“The OPMA Lifetime Achievement Award acknowledges individuals who have helped shape the world-class produce industry we have today in Ontario,” OPMA chairman Joe Dutchyn said in the release. “I congratulate both Ron and Lewis and thank them for their life-long contribution to our industry.”