CELEBRATING 133 YEARS AS CANADA’S PREMIER HORTICULTURAL PUBLICATION
VOLUME 63 NUMBER 03
Ontario’s first female premier hopes to mend fences with agriculture post KAREN DAVIDSON The rural-urban divide in Ontario’s last election left the Liberal government in minority territory, a position so weakened that premier Kathleen Wynne has taken the mantle of agriculture and food minister in hopes of mending fences. While living up to her campaign pledge, she surprised many by splitting rural affairs into a stand-alone ministry. As rural affairs minister, newcomer Jeff Leal will stickhandle the controversial issues of wind farms, green energy and a host of issues that intersect with other ministries. “I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or bad thing for the premier to also be the agriculture minister,” says John Hambly, Gwillimbury Farms. He and his wife Cristina own the diverse horticultural and cash crop operation near Bradford, Ontario where the premier’s office staged her ministerial announcement just days before the official swearing-in on February 11. With the Holland Marsh as a symbolic backdrop, Wynne met with the farm family and a small roundtable of farmers’ groups. The Don Valley West MPP pledged to hold the position for a year, a guaranteed upward climb that will require sturdier footwear than the red rubber boots she
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Ontario’s new premier Kathleen Wynne (far right) met with John and Cristina Hambly (next to Wynne) and children Alexa, Christopher and John to view their carrot washing and packing operation at Gwillimbury Farms at Bradford, Ontario. Photo by Jody Motts. wore at the winter event. What Hambly and other farm leaders want is the untangling of bureaucratic red tape that’s required to keep farms in compliance with a complex web of rules. For 2900 acres, 800 of which are in vegetables, Hambly says he hires one full-time person to do just government paperwork. That Wynne would go to the salad bowl to announce her takeover of the ag ministry’s portfolio from party stalwart Ted McMeekin is purely political. For starters, her invitation to only Toronto media -- not farm media -- was calculated. Wynne appeared in one of the province’s staunchest Conservative ridings to send a message that she commits wholeheartedly to rural Ontario. She specifically spent some time talking to John and Cristina Hambly’s children about their prospects for continuing the family farm. It wasn’t her first visit to the area. The Holland Marsh Growers’ Association (HMGA)
hosted her during the leadership campaign as well as contender Gerard Kennedy. In that setting, the growers presented their top-10 priority list of which a definition of farming and food ranks the highest. As Jamie Reaume, HMGA executive director recalls, he asked her a simple question: “Where are you?” Wynne’s predictable response: “I’m on a farm.” The conversation that ensued was educational, as Reaume explained how various government ministries view farming. “No you’re not,” he replied. “According to the Ministry of Environment, you’re at a sewage distribution centre. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, you’re standing on sensitive wetlands.” That interchange is a clever way to demonstrate the complexity of legislation that horticultural farmers are facing. And when it comes to the definition of farming, growers are particularly
incensed. “We don’t understand why a horse owner who makes $7000 per year on the farm can claim agriculture deductions while driving his BMW into his law practice in downtown Toronto,” says Reaume. What comes in the weeks ahead will be riveting to watch. The new premier will be depending on Deborah Stark, a newly minted deputy minister of agriculture with a deep resume. More than ever, this highly respected veterinarian by profession, will be the pivot to other ministries. One of the biggest issues is to resolve whether horticulture’s washwater and rainwater runoff can be regulated under the Nutrient Management Act. “I see the new premier taking on the ag portfolio as a positive move,” says Ray Duc, chair, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association. “She’s reaching out to rural Ontario. From our standpoint, we’re looking forward to working with her on food safety, the buy-local
legislation and water issues.” Another farm leader also sees an opportunity in the new political firmament.
I see the new premier taking on the ag portfolio as a positive move.” ~ Ray Duc “This will raise the profile of agriculture and food,” says Mark Wales, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture “We now have access to the head of cabinet to bring forward issues and solutions. In Deb Matthews, deputy premier and minister of health, we have an advocate for local food and healthy eating. This might not last long enough, given that we don’t know where politics are going. Wynne needs time to govern.”
PAGE 2 –– MARCH 2013 THE GROWER
AT PRESS TIME… CanadaGAP recognized at international level CanadaGAP, the Canadian food safety program for fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers, has been successfully re-benchmarked by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The benchmarking process determines equivalency against an internationally recognized set of food safety requirements, based on industry best practice and sound science. CanadaGAP joins a handful of other food safety schemes that have undergone GFSI’s thorough and comprehensive review process. Updates are available at www.mygfsi.com.
Planning for farm succession The Agricultural Management Institute (AMI) is releasing a five-part series on the unique challenges that farmers face when tackling farm succession. “When it comes to farm business management, succession is one of the most difficult tasks,” says Ryan Koeslag, executive director, AMI. The video series is the second from AMI’s farm business eTeam which launched an eight-part series in 2012 on farm business management. Videos can be sourced on AMI’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/amiontario; or from the AMI website: www.TakeANewApproach.ca
China from an ag perspective The Canada-China Agriculture and Food Development Exchange Centre will be hosting an agritour to China from October 11 – 22, 2013. Invitations are open to members of the Ontario Institute of Agrology as well as horticultural farmers. The 10-day tour will feature visits to: Beijing, Xian, Lhasa, Shanghai and the Yangtze River. Also included are visits to various types of small and large farm operations, local farmers’ markets, Nanshan Botanical Garden and lunch at the Eco-Restaurant in Xian. The group, which fosters closer agricultural ties between both countries, is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. The tour will be headed by Doug Yungblut and Doug Waters. For more tour information, contact email@example.com.
OFFMA: Champions are 40 years in the making Forty years ago, the Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association was formed to promote the direct farm marketing industry, encourage improvements and maintain integrity in the industry. Champions of the industry were recognized at a recent awards gala. The catagories include: Leadership: Congratulations to Joy and Earl Stanley from Stanley’s Olde Maple Farm.They
NEWSMAKERS have personally visited several members across the province, hosted hospitality suites for many events, encouraged on-farm marketers to join OFFMA and put many miles on their vehicles to participate in the annual potlucks. Visit www.stanleysfarm.com Food Innovation: Geissberger Farmhouse Cider grows apples which are pressed in a mobile cider mill that can be moved from farm to farm. The final product is presented in a vacuum sealed bag in a box system without preservatives that requires no refrigeration and a terrific shelf life. Check out www.farmhousecider.ca. Outstanding Farm Marketer: Brooks Farms was recognized for all the great products and activities they offer on their farm near Mount Albert. The serendipitous combination of Paul’s agricultural background and Kelly’s graphic design skills has created a brand second to none. Brooks Farms offers everything from a Maple Sugar Festival to Pumpkin PYO fields and a barnyard playland. Visit www.brooksfarms.com. Ontario Farm Fresh Ambassador Award: Mairlyn Smith, cookbook author and local food promoter is a regular on both Cityline and Breakfast Television. Her gift to the direct farm marketing industry is that she never misses an opportunity to promote buying directly from a farmer. Humour is her secret weapon; she can make people laugh while she is teaching them to eat well and to make good decisions about their food. She’s an ambassador in every sense of the word.
Ontario’s new premier, Kathleen Wynne, has also assumed the portfolio for agriculture and food while creating a separate ministry for rural affairs under Jeff Leal. Barring an election, she intends to hold the position for one year. Born on May 21, 1953, she was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003. She has held several ministerial files including education, transportation and most recently municipal affairs, housing and aboriginal affairs.
Ted McMeekin, the former ag minister moves to the community and social services portfolio. Other new ministers in portfolios that affect agriculture are: Charles Sousa, finance; Bob Chiarelli, energy; Yasir Naqvi, labour. Jim Bradley remains at the helm of environment. Jason Verkaik is the new vice-chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association. His Carron Farms operation produces carrots and onions in the Holland Marsh. The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention announced winners of its first-ever Innovation Awards. Best Packaging Systems Inc. won for Most Innovative Product for its combination of machine and stretch tape to contain pallets with 100 per cent ventilation. Provide Agro won honours for Most Innovative Service for AquaPulse Systems chlorine dioxide water treatment. For details, see B1. Congrats to Tony Sgambelluri, 2012 award of merit recipient from the Niagara Peninsula Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Association. It’s official. Heather Gale becomes executive director, CanAgPlus, after serving in an interim role. She has been national program manager of CanadaGAP since 2005 and has been instrumental in the program transition to CanAgPlus. United Fresh Produce Association has set up the Produce Marketing and Merchandising Council to be chaired by Roger Pepperi, marketing director at Stemilt Growers. The Finance and Business Management Council is to be chaired by Scott Danner, chief operating officer of Liberty Fruit Co. Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers recently held their annual general meeting. Bruce Shackleton is chair and Jim Poole is vicechair. Desmond Layne, known to many as the PeachDoctor, has left Clemson University, Georgia for the position of Endowed Chair, Tree Fruit Extension Program Lead Professor of Pomology at Washington State University. He started the Tasty Peach Challenge which became well-known in the U.S. He’s proudly claimed as one of Ontario’s own, the son of Dick Layne, a peach breeder at Harrow. The Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame has announced its 2013 inductees including Hector Delanghe, Delhaven Farms, Blenheim, Ontario. The official ceremony takes place in June. In other honours this month, Delhaven Farms took first prize in the 3rd Annual Sweet Cider Competition. Second place winner was Al Ferri & Sons and third place was Spirit Tree Cidery. The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association has elected its 2013 president, Henry Denotter, a grain producer from Kingsville. One of the take-aways from the annual general meeting was: “The social license to operate is about getting and keeping access to valuable business resources like markets, financing, talent, raw material, infrastructure sites and legal permits by winning acceptance and approval from communities.” Brenda Lammens was elected to the Agricultural Adaptation Council board of directors in December 2012 as one of two horticultural representatives. She and her husband, Raymond, operate Spearit Farms. She is past chair of the Asparagus Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association. She currently serves as vice-chair of the Agricultural Management Institute. Last fall, she was also named by OMAFRA minister Ted McMeekin to the Growing Forward 2 Strategic Initiatives Innovation-Industry Roundtable.
MARCH 2013 â€“â€“ PAGE 3 THE GROWER
Hard numbers help assess risk in growing global crops KAREN DAVIDSON So what would it take for grocers to boot imported crops -- okra or Asian eggplant -- off the shelves for local, in-season product? Can growers overcome the risks to make a profit? On February 6, in the most public forum to date, Ontario growers and retailers met together courtesy of Vineland Research and Innovation Centre to answer those questions with some hard numbers. In a private session, they held a speed-dating round of introductions to see if there were any matches for the upcoming season. â€œWeâ€™re always open to new products,â€? says Bruno Bertucci, produce buyer for Longoâ€™s. â€œAs the commodity grows, you grow with the company. It would be great to have a cooperative approach with say four farmers selling under one brand for economies of scale. We really donâ€™t like to switch back and forth between local and imports.â€? Bertucci also got nitty-gritty. For okra, match the import size: 12 â€“ 14 lb. per box. Those nuggets of advice are worth hoarding. Like sweet potatoes a decade ago, okra, Asian eggplant and yard-long beans are becoming more standard fare in Canadaâ€™s largest cities. And because of both consumer and production research, growers are finally feeling more confident about experimenting with these crops. â€œItâ€™s an exciting opportunity to be in world crops,â€? said Jason Verkaik, a carrot and onion grower in the Holland Marsh. â€œIf we can harvest a little earlier than our root crops, then we have cash flow earlier too.â€? Verkaik experimented first with Indian red carrots 10 years ago, but found it difficult to maintain a consistent seed supply of varieties that would work in his soils. Heâ€™s been more successful with heirloom carrots, working with the Canyon Creek restaurant chain. For the fall harvest of 2011 and 2012, he delivered a set quantity for an eight-week run to coincide with a local harvest menu unique to the chain. Heâ€™s also experimented with tomatillos, but in 2012, the chef moved on after his seedlings were in the ground. That left Verkaik with two acres of tomatillos that ended up in homemade salsa verde. â€œThereâ€™s a danger in flooding the market,â€? admits Verkaik. â€œBut if you look at the numbers, chains such as Sobeys and Longoâ€™s are slowly changing from imports if local produce can meet the price points. Some products work and others donâ€™t based on labour.â€? The demand signals are obvious at the Ontario Food Terminal says general manager Bruce Nicholas. Just take a stroll through Veg-Pak Produce in mid-summer. Rick and Vic Carnevale will show all the
products that are widely available to green grocers and large-box retailers alike. They specialize in leafy greens as well as imported global crops. Thereâ€™s an opportunity for Ontario growers to take the seasonal part of that market with Nicholasâ€™ caveat: â€œThere noâ€™s loyalty to local. Loyalty is to the dollar. The dollar rules and you must have your product meet quality standards.â€? For some cultural groups, quality is judged differently. Thatâ€™s where Isabelle Lesschaeveâ€™s findings are vital. As research director of VRICâ€™s consumer insights and production innovation, sheâ€™s delved into the specifics with Asian and African-Caribbean communities, trying to understand what aspects of locally grown vegetables would measure up to the produce imported from their homelands. In her 2012 consumer trials, she found external appearance is the most important characteristic for Asians while freshness is top of mind for Chinese. Firmness trumps all for those of African-Caribbean descent. Fortunately, Ontario-grown produce scores high for all groups. If consumers had their druthers, all produce would be priced at $1.29 per pound or lower. â€œThereâ€™s a big demand for okra,â€? reports Lesschaeve. She estimates 25 million pounds in season which translates to 2600 acres. Less than 10 acres are grown in Ontario now. To meet the demand for Asian long
MARKET SIZE AND VALUE, PRODUCTION ECONOMICS FOR ASIAN EGGPLANT
eggplant in season, 21 million pounds are needed or about 1000 acres. Eggplant is worth $33 million in just the Greater Toronto Area alone. Yard-long beans are worth $60 million in season, but itâ€™s expensive to grow due to
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Rick Carnevale (left) and his father Vic, Veg-Pak Produce, specialize in leafy greens and many global vegetables including several varieties of eggplant at the Ontario Food Terminal. Photos by Glenn Lowson.
the need for trellises. Early economic data shows itâ€™s not profitable to grow under current practices. More production research is needed to grow this crop locally and compete with imports. For all these crops, some growers are
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running trials under the production tutelage of Ahmed Bilal and post-harvest handling of Bernard Goyette, both stationed at VRIC. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4
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Hard numbers help assess risk in growing global crops CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 For those growers in the Holland Marsh, global crops aren’t new. The Muck Research Station has contributed to a wealth of knowledge for those who have grown bok choy, nappa cabbage and other crops favoured by the Chinese community. Interest in global crops is broadening from the niche to mainstream. Streef Produce, one of the few commission houses at the Ontario Food Terminal which still grows as well as markets, is considering diversifying its 2500 acres at
Agronomics The opportunities in global crops are not without hurdles. OMAFRA’s Melanie Filotas, IPM specialist for specialty crops, outlined the challenges of finding crop protection products registered for these new crops. She detailed the differences between crop groupings and sub-groupings. With food safety top of mind, questions linger about the level of training given to third-party auditors for specialty crops. No grower wants to be offside during an audit. To help growers be more knowledgeable, a special crop opportunity section will be launched in March on OMAFRA’s website.
Princeton, Ontario. “Due to variable weather, we can’t have all our eggs in one basket,” says Chris Streef. Jason Verkaik concludes: “The buzz around these veggies goes beyond ethnicities. When there
are recipes for these new veggies in Canadian Living magazine, we know the box has moved. As growers, we must adapt to the paradigm shift.” Jason Verkaik, Carron Farms, has experimented with tomatillos on his Bradford, Ontario farm with mixed success. Photos by Glenn Lowson.
MARKET SIZE AND VALUE, PRODUCTION ECONOMICS FOR OKRA
Slides courtesy of Issabelle Lesschaeve, VRIC
Washington state growers invest in future
Produce tagged as culprit
Little blue dynamos propel growth
Of all foodborne illnesses in the U.S. in the last decade, 46 per cent was caused by produce, with produce accounting for 23 per cent of food-related deaths. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released these statistics based on data from 1998-2008. Since then, many new food safety provisions are now in place. The founding of the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) at the University of CaliforniaDavis has led to millions invested in practical solutions to food safety. “A lot of produce-related illnesses result from mishandling by consumers — the so-called church supper syndrome,” said David Gombas, United Fresh Produce Association, referring to foods being left at room temperature too long.
Highbush blueberries are predicted to crest at a global total of 1.4 billion pounds in 2015, according to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. The health halo of blueberries is behind the
Cherry and stone fruit growers are investing $5 million in the next eight years for Washington State University’s (WSU) research and extension centers in Prosser and Wenatchee. The move follows a vote by apple and pear growers to spend $27 million. On the ground, the assessment translates into $4 per ton for cherry growers and $1 per ton for stone fruit growers. Specifically, the funds will be allocated as follows: • $12 million to establish endowed chairs that will provide perpetual support for the tree fruit research program. WSU will cover the salary and benefit costs for each faculty position. • $12 million to create an endowment to establish new positions in tree fruit production regions to accelerate the transfer of new information and technologies for Washington growers and
Desmond Layne, Tree Fruit Extension Program Lead Professor of Pomology at Washington State University shippers. These positions will reinvigorate WSU extension activities and focus on industry priorities. • $8 million to create an endowment to support dedicated research orchards in Prosser and Wenatchee and enhance development and evaluation of cutting edge technologies and practices. Source: Washington State University news release
Source: United Fresh Produce Association
consumer uptake of the superfruit. Recent crop estimates from 2012 show that North American production – including British Columbia – was up five per cent over 2011 and an eyebrow-raising 32 per cent since 2008.
California and Washington are the expansion leaders with British Columbia and Oregon increasing more modestly. Michigan maintains its lead as the state with the most production. In South America meanwhile, Chile has expanded rapidly, shipping an anticipated 79,400 tons to the U.S. during the 2012/13 season. That’s up 12 per cent
from the previous year. The South American season starts in September and ends in late April, guaranteeing a steady flow of fresh fruit. Source: FreshPlaza.com
MARCH 2013 –– PAGE 5 THE GROWER
Greenhouse acreage numbers are stacking up to banner year Will prices keep up? KAREN DAVIDSON If the news release from Mastronardi Produce Ltd is any indicator, greenhouse acreage will continue its upward march in 2013. The Kingsville, Ontario
high demand and with this acreage, we will fulfill the needs of our key partners throughout North America,” said Paul Mastronardi, president. “The new addition also includes automation to improve packing and distribution efficiencies.”
Source: Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers company is expanding its distribution center, doubling the size of its headquarters and adding 100 greenhouse acres in Ontario alone. “Our gourmet greenhouse tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and specialty items continue to be in
Quebec and British Columbia growers are also expanding. • Les Serres Lefort, a Quebecbased agri-business, will be selling red, orange and yellow sweet peppers for the first time as of March 15. The business has almost six acres under cultivation.
• BC Hot House Foods is starting its 40th year in business with a 13 per cent increase, mostly in sweet bell peppers and long English cucumbers. Grower partners include Darvonda Nurseries which adds 10 acres as does Creekside Hot House with 10 acres of tomatoes in South Surrey. Bakerview Greenhouse adds 11 acres of peppers in Abbotsford. The quest for market share in the lucrative U.S. market is borne out by the 2012 statistics just released by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers. In total, 2,272 acres are under hydroponic cultivation by 224 growers across the province. That’s up 205 acres from the previous year. The largest enterprise is almost 126 acres in size. Tomatoes lead the pack with 38 per cent of the production volume followed by peppers at 33 per cent and cucumbers at 29 per cent. While Statistics Canada’s last numbers pegged the farmgate value at $698 million in 2011, those numbers are bumping against $800 million now. Those numbers don’t tell the story on profit margins. Tomato producers, in particular, took a
cut of 20 per cent on prices last year due to Mexican competition. However, a favourable wind is blowing from the south with the news that the U.S. government and Mexico have averted a trade war on fresh tomato imports. A bilateral tomato trade pact signed in 1996 was severely tested by low-priced tomatoes flooding the Florida market where growers were threatening an antidumping case. The new draft agreement raises the minimum “reference” price from $0.21 per pound to $0.31 per pound for open field tomatoes from Mexico entering the U.S. That price is even higher at $0.41 for ‘controlled environment’ tomatoes, $0.45 for specialty, loose tomatoes and $0.59 for packed, according to a factsheet from the International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce. The new pricing regime takes effect on March 4. For Mexican growers worried about their $1.9 billion market in the U.S., they have assured access. For Canadian growers
worried about a race to the bottom on prices, they have bankable news that a higher floor has been set on tomato prices.
Competitors For the first time in 10 years, Dutch greenhouse acreage has decreased by 2.4 per cent to 4,870 hectares. According to Statistics Netherlands, the area in 2010 and 2011 was 4,990 hectares. Pepper production has dropped by 50 hectares, due to declining red pepper demand. The tomato acreage is slightly lower than last year. The number of vine tomatoes and cherry tomatoes increased in 2012.
PAGE 6 –– MARCH 2013 THE GROWER
CANADIAN APPLE BENCHMARKING STUDY
Findings: ‘Focus on the domestic market ahead of exports’ A good rating is not good enough for the Canadian apple industry. Findings from a Canadian benchmarking study reveal that retailers perceive the Canadian industry as less innovative in varieties grown, packing methods and marketing approaches. To achieve an excellent rating, the apple industry must focus on their key competitor: Washington State. While this 89-page report delves extensively into the apple industry, there are lessons for all commodities. Retailers talk about produce as the last bastion of bulk, with trends well underway for more packaged formats due to food safety concerns. Editor’s note: This executive summary is reprinted with permission of the Value Chain Management Centre, George Morris Centre, Guelph, Ontario. The national apple benchmarking study was prepared by Martin Gooch, Kate Stiefelmeyer, Nicole Marenick and Greg Borovilos. Results were presented at the Ontario Apple Growers’ annual general meeting in January.
VOICE OF CUSTOMER MATRIX
Apple industry market share By volume, Canada’s share of the domestic market declined sharply at the beginning of the last decade and again in the last few years to reach approximately 65 per cent. Since 2000, the U.S. has nearly doubled their share of the Canadian market to just over 28 per cent in 2011. Chile has also grown its market share, at the expense of South Africa and New Zealand. Canada does not compete directly with Chile due to the time of year Chilean imports come into Canada, but the industry does compete directly with the U.S., and more specifically Washington State. Canada’s apple export markets have declined significantly over the last decade and represent <1 per cent of the U.S. and U.K. market share. While there are distinct
differences in the performance of the Canadian industry versus competing suppliers in relation to specific capabilities or services, the overall performance of the Canadian industry is deemed as being reasonably close to that of South Africa and ahead of every other competitor with the exception of the U.S. West (Washington). It is primarily this difference in the comparative performance of Washington’s versus Canada’s apple industry (and the determining factors that result in these differences) that is impacting the international competitiveness of the Canadian apple industry. Voice of Customer matrix graph As shown in the Matrix above, the business factors in which the
Canadian industry falls short are those in which some of the future trends are most critical, for example, innovativeness and varieties. Respondents agreed that varietal development and production techniques are the key areas of innovation on which the future of a nations’ apple industry depends. Canada is improving in this area but still lags behind New Zealand and Washington, because the Canadian apple industry relies too heavily on government to take the lead on breeding, production and marketing related initiatives. This difference in the extent to which commercial businesses strategically involve themselves in the innovation process reflects the cultural differences found to exist between the apple industries of Canada, New Zealand, Washington and South Africa. In terms of strictly varieties, Honeycrisp is perceived to have broken Canada out of its mold of producing commodities. New Zealand is consistently ahead of others in variety development and experimentation, whereas Washington is more proactive in varietal research because its sheer volume allows it room to accomplish that. If the Canadian industry is to move towards the
production of more club varieties, as recommended by many respondents, the category management skills of Canadian suppliers will become more important to retailers. This is clearly an area of expertise in which Canada lags behind Washington. Varieties demanded will be based on what consumers want in terms of size, colour and taste. One of Canada’s strengths is its flavour profile, but the industry lacks consistency in delivering the size and colour that consumers and retailers are seeking. Respondents were very open as to their opinions on why Canada differs from its competitors based on the business factors
described above. Most responses can be captured in six primary categories: 1. Impact of economies of scale on management capabilities 2. More vertical integration and collaboration elsewhere 3. Canada lags in investment / innovation 4. No organization looks at the entire industry, or is responsible for the entire industry 5. The extent to which the business culture does not reflect an ardent commercial mindset 6. Canada’s apple industry lacks a compelling value proposition CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
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CANADIAN APPLE BENCHMARKING STUDY
Findings: ‘Focus on the domestic market ahead of exports’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6 All of the differences above fit into one larger issue: the Canadian industry needs to focus more ardently on the commercial aspects of business. The majority of respondents believe that the Canadian apple industry suffers from retaining a producer-oriented philosophy. The industry clearly has strengths, though these strengths are not being used to their full advantage. Factors such as climate and land values impact its options and costs of production, though focusing on subjective social issues has lessened the industry’s competitiveness. An example of why this limits the competiveness of Canada’s apple industry is contained in a comment made by a Canadian retailer. Canadian suppliers are “less innovative in terms of varieties grown, packing methods and marketing approaches than Washington, NZ and Chile.” This is common in numerous statements made about the primary differences between many Canadian apple operations versus the larger, vertically integrated operations against which they compete, and how it impacts the industry’s ability to adapt to emerging trends. In short, many of the challenges faced by the Canadian apple industry are selfimposed. Leaders clearly exist within the industry. However, the inertia that emanates from an industry whose culture reflects a less commercial and more producer-centric mindset than its primary competitors was stated by many respondents as being the key determinant that is preventing industry from fully utilizing the strengths and capabilities that it possesses.
to maximize the opportunities that are arising from the ’buy local’ phenomenon: • “Local food and farming is good for the Ontario industry, as long as it’s retailer/consumer and not farmer driven.” (Packer/Wholesaler, Canada) • “It’s sad. They say they are business men. They aren’t. They [farmers] don’t get it. Buy local is great, but if you keep doing the same things…they used to demand top dollar with no quality. Now Ontario has the quality, but the demands [of consumers] are even more. Retailers will eventually say enough.” (Industry Expert, Canada) • “We source from Canada because we like to, not because
we need to.” (Packer/Wholesaler, Canada) • “Buying from Canada is an
awful lot more work for retailers than importing.” (Packer/Wholesaler, Canada)
Photo by Glenn Lowson
Recommendations Based on the research findings, the report presents five recommendations to industry and government, for how to increase the long-term competitiveness and profitability of the Canadian apple industry: 1. Focus on the domestic market ahead of exports 2. Establish a national market and industry development body 3. Invest in production and packing efficiencies/effectiveness 4. Ensure the adequate collection and sharing of market information 5. Learn from other jurisdictions What retailers really think of buying locally While most retailers and wholesalers suggest that the ‘buy local’ trend will continue, several Canadian respondents commented on the attitudinal issues along the value chain that are limiting the Canadian apple industry’s ability
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PAGE 8 –– MARCH 2013 THE GROWER
Social media powers this integrated apple campaign KAREN DAVIDSON It may seem counterintuitive to declare “Apple Month” for February, but that’s exactly what BC Tree Fruits have been doing to clear out inventory. This year’s “Good to Go” promotion embraces old-fashioned media buys and retailer partnerships along with new-age Facebook and Twitter postings. “For us, Apple Month is an opportunity to continue building awareness of the B.C. brand as well as deliver the message that fresh fruit is still available in February, a few months after fall harvest,” says Chris Pollock, BC Tree Fruits. The 580 cooperative members are firmly behind this ambitious marketing plan knowing that last year’s first efforts significantly improved sales. They moved an extra 5,000 cartons over a comparative fourweek period with a 10 per cent increase in price per carton. Last year’s “Artful Apple” competition urged consumers to decorate an apple and share their photo through Twitter and to post photos on the Facebook page. The
prize for the best photo was a weekend for two in the Okanagan Valley. An impressive 451 entries proved that consumers would bite for the offer. That first foray into a social media world has encouraged BC Tree Fruits to try a similar directto-consumer campaign this year. Strategy started months ago around the message of apples as a healthy, portable snack. The “Good to Go” theme encourages apple fans to tell where and how they enjoy B.C. apples and to share a photo showcasing wherever hunger strikes. Should a hockey arena be featured, no one will be surprised. Whoever is voted the winner on the applemonth.com website page will win $2,000 cash and another $2,000 to their favourite charity. The plan engages retail produce managers months before execution to get point-of-sale (POS) materials along with display bins and kits. All the major retailers in western Canada are participating including: Canada Safeway, Real Canadian Superstore, Overwaitea Foods, Save-On Foods, Urban Fare,
BC Tree Fruits has integrated its social media campaign on its website with entry points to Facebook, Twitter, Good to Go contest, recipes and photos from the media tour. PriceSmart Foods, Sobeys, Coopers Foods, Walmart, Federated Co-op, and Calgary Co-op. Importantly, this includes their social media teams. “It’s unbelievable how important social media has become in a
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marketing strategy,” says Pollock. “These grocers literally have teams whose sole responsibility is social media and interacting with consumers.” The number of ‘likes’ on Facebook might not mean much to growers, but they understand the tangible results of higher volumes of apples sold. Marketing manager Pollock launched this year’s “Good to Go” contest with breakfast TV interviews in Calgary. Grower and nutritionist Darcel Markgraf made the rounds of TV shows in all the key western cities, raising
awareness of the contest and directing consumers to www.applemonth.com. Like many consumer promotions, BC Tree Fruits has included recipes on their POS materials. But data remains elusive on how many consumers are actually using those recipes. Perhaps this is the year to use Twitter to ask questions about classic apple recipes and how consumers are adapting them to the “get up and go” lifestyle. The feedback could give hints on future recipe direction.
Tweets hook consumers Hey #Calgary, we'll be at @MarketMallYYC this Saturday and Sunday by the @Safeway entrance. Come sample some apples for #AppleMonth!
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MAKE CFFO C YOUR R FBR CHOICE CHOICE www.christianfarmers.org www.christianfarmers s.org
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Twitter:: @CFFOnt Twitter
Smart tweet. The day before official launch of the Good to Go promotion, apple grower and nutritionist Darcel Markgraf is interviewed on Breakfast Television in Calgary. Still photos of the interview are immediately posted to Facebook. Viewers are also sent to the www.applemonth.com for the apple taco recipe demonstrated. The tweet refers to retail partner Safeway which gives access to their 27,000 plus followers. The tweet gives precise directions to where samples will be available in Calgary.
MARCH 2013 –– PAGE 9 THE GROWER
Fruit Logistica showcases the industry’s best Fruit Logistica, a global showcase of horticulture’s best, attracted more than 58,000 visitors to Berlin, Germany. The event is held annually in early February. Once again, the Netherlands proved its leadership in horticultural innovation with the City Farming system from the Staay Food Group. Out of 10 nominations, it was voted by attendees of Fruit Logistica as the most innovative. It consists of a custom greenhouse with specialized LED lighting that allows seeds to be cultivated into young plants within 35 days, independent of their natural season.
Optimum growing conditions make pesticides unnecessary. Temperature, irrigation and fertilizers are controlled automatically. The system is touted as a sustainable, environmentally-friendly method of producing healthy food for a rapidly growing global population. Trade visitors voted Apfel-Schiffchen into second place. These ship-shaped apple slices were developed by Elbe-Obst Vertriebs GmbH, Germany. A new drying technique guarantees crispness and prevents browning. Third place went to Tozer Seeds Ltd, of the U.K. for Flower
Sprout, a cross between Brussels sprouts and kale with green and purple leaves. The Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2013 showcased 10 nominees in total at last month’s February 6 – 8 show in Berlin, Germany. The jury comprises experts from production, quality management, wholesale distribution and retail, as well as from the packaging and service sectors. More than 55,000 visitors from 130 countries had the opportunity to vote in a special exhibition area.
• Staay Food Group, Netherlands: “City-Farming” – A greenhouse concept for urban or arid locations using LED lighting to grow produce in 35 days under safe, controlled conditions.
• Elbe-Obst Vertriebs GmbH, Germany: “Apfel-Schiffchen” – Cut and dried apple slices produced using a special new technique to maintain crispness and avoid browning.
• Tozer Seeds Ltd, UK: “Flower Sprout” – A cross between a Brussel sprout and kale with attractive, green and purple frilly leaves.
• Nergi – Sofruileg, France: “Nergi” – A sweet tasting berry fruit derived from the kiwi with smooth edible skin.
• Ben-Dor Fruits and Nurseries Ltd., Israel: “Colored Apricots” – A colourful range of sweet and juicy apricots with different skin and flesh colourings.
• Abracad Technoworks BV, Netherlands: “High speed counting and packing device” – A fast and flexible feeding system to pack small bags into cartons.
In other highlights of Fruit Logistica, packaging experts Sirane launched Dri-fresh Resolve ‘Safe-hold’ fruit cushioning pads. These ‘absorbent bubble pads’ combine the cushioning and protective properties of bubble films with effective absorbency, high permeability and excellent presentation. “Fully compostable and available in various colours and sizes, Dri-fresh Resolve ‘Safe-hold’ is the perfect product for soft fruit protection,” said Sandra Evans, sales manager for fresh produce. “Like all Dri-fresh Resolve pads, Safehold is available with integrated ethylene absorbing and anti-fungal properties for extending shelf-life in all applications. These films have now been available commercially for the last 12 months and they have been proven to extend shelf life for all fruit and vegetables beyond that achieved with any other packaging technology.” Sirane Limited believes that the technology adds significant value to soft fruit products.
Soilmate: innovative campaign Dutch company Eosta is partnering with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization to promote saving soils. In their Soilmate campaign, organic tomatoes are sold together with compost and basil seeds. This allows consumers to experience for themselves the power of fertile soil. Anyone who starts to grow plants in a creative way can become a “soilder” in spreading the message and become eligible for a trip to Egypt. Trends in discounters Germany sources 24 per cent of its fruit and 20 per cent of its vegetables from Spain. The main imports are tomatoes (200,000 tonnes), oranges (180,000) and clementines (178,000), closely trailed by sweet peppers (164,000) and strawberries (150,000). In Germany, approximately one half of the fresh produce is sold in discount chains which
PAGE 10 –– MARCH 2013 THE GROWER
CANADIAN HORTICULTURAL COUNCIL AGM MARCH 12-15
Snakes don’t shrug
MURRAY PORTEOUS We read in the Bible, from the book of Genesis, that the snake tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden and that she, in turn, convinced Adam to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. We also know that once they ate of the fruit, they came to know that they were naked and had done wrong and tried to hide themselves from God in shame. I believe in the instant that Eve knew she had done something horribly wrong, she turned to the snake and the snake shrugged as if to say, “Who knew?” Furthermore, we know that the snake had not always crawled upon the ground, but that God cursed the snake for his actions in the Garden and made him to crawl upon his belly and eat dust. God also created enmity between
the woman and the snake to last forever. I personally believe that at the same time, the snake lost his ability to raise his eyebrows, turn his lips and shrug as if to feign ignorance of the consequences of his actions. Politicians and the media have evolved to lack the ability to shrug. It is not because they have been instantly cursed by God like the snake in the Garden of Eden, but more likely because we have beat it out of them like the character called “The Fat Broad” in the comic strip, “The Wizard of Id.” As a society, we have no tolerance for incompetence in our elected officials. We supposedly elect them with the expectation and trust that they are infallible, all-knowing, God-like people who would never make a mistake or even make a decision based on false or misleading information.
Similarly, the media can never be seen to be providing false information because it would tarnish their brand, cause us to reject what they are feeding us and reduce the likelihood that we would pay money for their products. If either showed weakness or fallibility by shrugging when called to account for their mistakes, this reaction would result in severe consequences for them. This is why politicians and the media don’t shrug. The fact is that politicians do make decisions based on the information they have at hand and these can result in unintended consequences. In the absence of correct information, the media will print information that is incorrect or misleading. When presented to an audience that knows better, the politician or media person is forced to dodge, duck or spin – anything is acceptable but shrugging. More than ever before, it is important to tell our fruit and vegetable story to the people who make decisions and sway public opinion on issues that matter to our livelihoods. While our numbers are getting smaller, our impact is larger. We’re the people who grow healthy, local food. We’re the farmers who hire approximately 90,000 people to work in our fields, greenhouses and packing plants. We’re the businesses that contribute approximately $5 billion to the Canadian economy. Yet, there is a growing disconnect between those who purchase fruit and vegetables for
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their families and the families that grow them. Despite this being the age of knowledge and information, ignorance and deception continues to spread at an accelerating pace. Society and technology have changed.
Politicians and the media have evolved to lack the ability to shrug.” The Canadian Horticultural Council has stepped up its effort to ensure that the right people are getting the real truth on matters that are important to us. This year, we have reached out to key decision makers in government that we have not dealt with in the past. As always, we have had a significant amount of discussion with policy makers at Agriculture and Agri Food Canada (AAFC), the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) and we enjoy strong working relationships with key people in those areas. In addition, we have now connected with policy makers in the other Ministries and Departments such as the Prime Minister’s Office, Finance, Trade, Immigration, Industry and International Trade. We have spent time with the Ministers of Finance, HRDC, AAFC,
Immigration, Foreign Affairs, Treasury and Labour in the hope of creating relationships with those who make decisions that affect us. We have partnered with other commodities in agriculture across the horticulture cereal - meat spectrum and the respective retailers, packers, wholesalers, distributors, bankers, input suppliers, processors, growers and provincial and foreign governments to rally together on issues of common concern. We have reached out and made connections with national media outlets as well as distributing information at regional media sources through articles in The Grower, urban press, rural press, and through increased distribution of CHC’s publications called “Member Notes,” “Fresh Thinking” and “Hort Shorts.” We have spoken at conferences, participated in consultations and engaged heavily in industry/government working groups such as the Horticultural Value Chain Roundtable and on issues ranging from Plant Health to Financial Risk Mitigation. We have conducted interviews in both print and radio media, within Canada, and presented on behalf of our sector internationally. The goal has been to help educate the key people on what our issues are so that policy makers can make the right decisions for our industry the first time they have the opportunity to do so. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
MARCH 2013 –– PAGE 11 THE GROWER
CANADIAN HORTICULTURAL COUNCIL AGM MARCH 12-15
Snakes don’t shrug The “What’s Your Story” piece that was initiated by CHC in The Grower this year gives the opportunity to strategically address issues in a story format to be used as a lobbying piece and to target issues that are relevant to strategically-important ridings. Politicians remember stories because they are visual and if the story is centered on an issue in their riding, they are even more likely to be sensitive to the issue. You may not be a Biblical scholar, or a cartoon reader, but when I mention the Garden of Eden or the Wizard of Id, chances are, the illustration comes alive for you even though you may not have heard that scripture or read that cartoon for many years. Stories stick and the fruit and vegetable sector has a great story to tell. The signing of the Harper/Obama “Border Deal” on Dec. 7, 2011 provided an unprecedented opportunity to move forward on issues that are important to our industry. For the first time, the leaders of the two countries committed to moving forward on pesticide harmonization, ensuring sellers were financially protected when selling fresh produce, and developing
common policies on plant health and food safety to reduce red tape and facilitate trade. Unfortunately, CHC did not have the resources budgeted to provide the input necessary to move those issues forward. To help address this need, the membership adopted the Strategic Plan I presented at the 2012 AGM. The plan included steps to help overcome this shortfall and to direct the organization to the year 2022 and to focus our efforts on achieving a stronger horticultural industry for future generations. As a result, I would like to acknowledge the assistance of financial support that has been received from Peak of the Market, the PEI Potato Board and FARMS as well as the assistance with an advance on membership fees provided by OFVGA that was critical to our cash flow. The strategy also emphasized partnering financially with those companies who benefit from our sector’s health and the financial contributions from Syngenta, Farm Credit, ITK, and AgroFresh are greatly appreciated. CHC’s Annual General Meeting this March will be unlike any other that we have seen in many years. After several years
Canada’s Produce Place website launched
The Horticulture Value Chain Roundtable has launched a pilot website: www.canadasproduceplace.ca. To determine feasibility, it’s restricted in scope to Ontario and Quebec with a focus on carrots, celery, lettuce and onions. If successful, it will be expanded to other horticultural crops and regions. It lists growers with contact numbers and emails as well as descriptions of produce for sale. Project partners include: grower organizations Holland Marsh Growers’ Association and Association des jardiniers maraîchers du Québec (Québec
Produce Growers Association), Ontario Produce Marketing Association, Québec Produce Marketing Association, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, the Canadian Horticultural Council, retailers, wholesalers and foodservice companies. Produce industry stakeholders are encouraged to navigate through the website and report on how user-friendly it is and whether the type of information and format fulfills needs. To give feedback, contact Ian MacKenzie at email@example.com or 416-2597827, ext. 231.
of stretching inadequate resources to try to meet the needs of our members, we are at a critical decision point on financing. We will attempt to present the options, benefits and risks in as clear a manner as possible so that each delegate will have the tools he or she needs to make an informed decision as well as the risks and benefits associated with our activities. Personally, I think we have to make some tough decisions. Labour is emerging as a critical issue for all of us this year as the government begins to implement changes to immigration policy and to the administration of the Employment Insurance (EI) program. Members have expressed concern about the ability to secure the local help we depend upon to harvest and pack our crops for several months of the year under the revised EI rules. The installation of the Integrity Commissioner at HRDC to deal with temporary worker concerns is a welcomed feature, but there needs to be diligence on our part to maintain good communication and ensure fairness. Increasingly, the threat posed by negative
media and lawsuits from the United Food and Commercial Workers union against the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program highlight the need to make sure policy makers have a good understanding of our needs. Our voice must be heard. I am told by government officials that we are very close to seeing the establishment of the first agency in our sector to collect research and promotion fees on imported and domestic product. This could be a huge boost to those commodities that are able to access this type of funding if we can work collectively to make this happen. After 29 years of lobbying successive governments for a Canadian version of a PACA Trust, we are very close to seeing a tool developed that will help ensure sellers of produce are paid for their product. We have spent a phenomenal amount of time this year trying to push this issue across the goal line. We have also spent a lot of effort trying to delay the repeal of standard container regulations until the industry can gain some commitments to help strengthen
our markets and reduce the barriers to competitiveness. In the meantime, we need to revise how these regulations are enforced. Crisis issues like this can occur at any time and the CHC budget has no reserve to address emerging opportunities or threats. As we approach the next federal election in 2014, it is imperative that all members in “swing” horticultural ridings such as the Quebec ridings which went to the NDP in the last election are wellversed on our issues. Our offer to help the party leaders has been well received and we would be wise to step up this effort beginning this spring. The question is: Does the CHC membership have the desire and the wherewithal to address our financial challenges so we can deal with the extremely important issues and capitalize on the momentum we have created? At this point the answer is a shrug, but by the end of March, no delegate to the CHC Annual General Meeting should be able to say they were not aware of the consequences of our decisions. Murray Porteous is president, Canadian Horticultural Council.
PAGE 12 –– MARCH 2013 THE GROWER
RAY DUC CHAIR, OFVGA A unique situation is unfolding in rural Ontario -- the Premier is
running the Ag file. Yes Premier Kathleen Wynne is the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Premier Wynne wants to dispel any myths she will represent only Toronto. By taking an active role as the Minister of Ag for one year she is showing that she wishes to be the Premier for all of Ontario. She has also appointed MPP Jeff Leal as the Minister of Rural Affairs splitting the ministry so she can focus on agriculture. This presents a huge opportunity for Ontario horticulture. The past Minister of Ag, Food and Rural Affairs announced the Local Food Act. We now have a chance, through her office, to
supply. Some have suggested she cannot be Premier and do the Ag file justice. I believe that if the OFVGA and other organizations show flexibility to work within her busy schedule, work cooperatively and have meetings that are focused on results, we can have a very productive year. I applaud the premier for committing a portion of what will be a very busy year to rural Ontario and specifically agriculture. However it is a very uncertain time at Queens Park. I can only hope Premier Wynne can bridge the party differences and stabilize the political arena so she can ful-
fill the commitment she has made to agriculture. I invite you, Premier Wynne, to come visit farms in every corner of Ontario. You will find a very modern and diversified horticultural industry filled with interesting and enthusiastic people. I look forward to building a relationship with you that will prove fruitful for all of Ontario.
put the price up -- they pass the increased cost on to the consumer. Unfortunately, such is not the case in the fruit and vegetable sector. Here our farmers absorb. They cannot pass the additional expenses on. The retailers expect -- no they demand -- that our produce prices meet that of the competition. I have never heard a buyer say, “Hey your costs just went up I’ll pay you more.”
2002 to 2011. Dairy and eggs by 20 per cent, meat by 12 per cent whereas fresh fruit on average by less than one per cent and fresh vegetables have declined by an average of four per cent. These figures speak to the fact that the farmer is unable to pass on additional costs when the competition does not have those same costs. The producer (importer) with the lowest costs can always raise his or her price,
clearly. Between 2008 and 2010, Ontario’s minimum wage went up by 28.5 per cent. It cost our fruit and vegetable producers more than $70 million or six per cent of the farm sales receipts and we have still not recovered. For every increase of 25 cents an hour in minimum wages, the cost to our farmers will be $10 million. And that is $10 million they do not have.
No the response, as we all know, is just the opposite and with the exception of some product differentiation what they say is, “if you want me to buy your produce then meet your competitor’s price.” I know there will be some who do not understand the fruit and vegetable farmer’s reality or think that I am just trying to string them along. To them, I say let’s look at the facts. According to Stats Canada the price paid by consumers for food has gone up by 29 per cent from
although they may forfeit some market share, but the producer with the higher costs cannot recover them by putting his or her price up; the marketplace will simply not accept it. This is the reality of Ontario’s fruit and vegetable producer. We market a perishable product. We do not have the luxury of picking or choosing when we want to market our produce and we get what the market will give us. Unfortunately that price has no relevance to our input costs. Stats Canada figures point that out very
So back to the original debate. Will an increase in minimum wages fight poverty and make life better for students and the less fortunate or will it kill jobs? Province-wide, there is no clear answer. Different folks will have different viewpoints and different realities but for Ontario’s fruit and vegetable farmers it will be a giant step backward and unfortunately will cause thousands of job losses on Ontario farms. For what it is worth, it’s the way I see it.
bring the act to life. We will also have opportunity to highlight issues such as hort for health, the importance of a local food supply and the economic viability of fruit and vegetable growers to the highest office in Ontario. Ontario’s hort industry supports 30,000 on-farm jobs and 9,000 people are employed to process local crops. This is the highest direct employment of any sector of primary agriculture in Ontario. It is critical to Ontario’s economy that this sector remains viable to keep Ontario working and supply Ontarians with fresh safe food. We can not become dependent on importing our food
The risk of raising the minimum wage
ART SMITH CEO, OFVGA President Obama stirred up the wage debate when he announced during his State of the Union address that he wanted to increase the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour from the current $7.25. The debate really is about whether raising the minimum rate helps to alleviate poverty and hardship or does it create more hardship through the elimination of jobs. There have been many studies done on this subject but often with differing conclusions. Clearly radical increases in wage rates have a tendency to eliminate jobs where small changes in rates afford more opportunity for sectors to adjust. There is also another debate as to whether or not there even needs to be a minimum wage rate or should we just let supply and demand of the market determine what the wage level should be. During the recently held Ontario Liberal leadership race, the issue of raising the minimum wage in the province came up again. The question is can we
afford an increase at this time -after all it has only been a few short years since the rate was increased to $10.25, or a whopping 28.5 per cent increase. I can certainly understand why any politician or anybody for that matter making more than $100,000 a year would think that the current rate of $10.25 an hour is not very much. I can understand why anyone in Toronto or any other major city that has higher costs of living would think the current rate is too low. The reality, however, is that what may be too low in one area may be adequate in another. Ontario is as diverse a jurisdiction as any and setting a minimum wage rate that is suitable to all is an impossible task. Perhaps the biggest factor to consider is that some sectors can pass on an increase while others cannot. In Ontario, more than 75 per cent of our economy is in the service sector -- everything from coffee shops, restaurants and retail stores, gas stations to banks, insurance companies, lawyers and engineers. These folks all compete with one another for your business but each sector or business type competes with a similar cost structure and as such they are able to pass on any additional cost to the consumer. As an example, when the price of crude oil goes up do the gasoline companies not all put up the price of their petroleum products? When the price of coffee beans goes up do the coffee shops not all put up the price of coffee? They may absorb for a bit but inevitably they will
STAFF Publisher: Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association Editor: Karen Davidson, 416-252-7337, firstname.lastname@example.org Production: Carlie Robertson, ext. 221, email@example.com Advertising: Herb Sherwood, 519-380-0118, firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Grower reserves the right to refuse any advertising. Any errors that are the direct result of The Grower will be compensated at our discretion with a correction notice in the next issue. No compensation will be given after the first running of the ad. Client signature is required before insertion. The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association is the sole owner of The Grower. All editorials and opinions expressed in The Grower are those of the newspaper’s editorial staff and/or contributor, and do not necessarily reflect the view of the association. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced either whole or in part without the prior written consent of the publisher. P.M. 40012319
The Grower is printed 12 times a year and sent to all members of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association who have paid $30.00 (plus G.S.T.) per year for the paper through their commodity group or container fees. Others may subscribe as follows by writing to the office:
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ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLE GROWERS’ ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2013 MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE Chair Vice-Chair Fruit Director Veg Director Director
Ray Duc, Niagara-on-the-Lake Jason Verkaik, Bradford Norm Charbonneau, Port Elgin Jan Vander Hout, Waterdown Brian Gilroy, Meaford
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Apples Fresh Vegetable - Other Tender Fruit ON Asparagus Grws’. Mkg. Brd. GGO/Fresh Grape Growers Fresh Vegetable - Muck ON. Potato Board Small Fruit/Berries ON. Ginseng Growers’ Greenhouse Greenhouse
Brian Gilroy, Meaford Mary Shabatura, Windham Centre Fred Meyers, Niagara-on-the-Lake Jason Ryder, Delhi Ray Duc, Niagara-on-the-Lake Jason Verkaik, Bradford Mac James, Leamington Norm Charbonneau, Port Elgin Ken Van Torre, Burford Jan Vander Hout, Waterdown Don Taylor, Durham
OFVGA SECTION CHAIRS Crop Protection Research Property Labour Safety Nets CHC
Charles Stevens, Newcastle Harold Schooley, Simcoe Brian Gilroy, Meaford Ken Forth, Lynden Mark Wales, Alymer Murray Porteous, Simcoe
MARCH 2013 –– PAGE 13 THE GROWER
PERSPECTIVE Constant communication needed to calm consumers
OWEN ROBERTS UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH Food giant McDonald’s has a major place in Canada’s fruit sector. Even though it’s known more for burgers and fries, McDonald’s is the single largest buyer in Canada of fresh apples. As well, it purchases 66 million eggs every year from Canadian producers, and 26 million litres of milk and cream. But understandably, given how the company helped pioneer the drive-through and even fast food itself -- it’s convenience, not necessarily freshness and Canadian farm-like quality, that most people associate with the brand. McDonald’s has also been at the heart of many attacks. The
most notable came from documentarian Morgan Spurlock and his movie Super Size Me, back in 2004. In it, Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald’s food three times a day for a month. The results were predictable. Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore has also taken many shots at McDonald’s, claiming it killed more people than the 9-11 attacks in New York. And the company has long been a target for anti-corporate activists who’ve accused it of, among other things, destroying the rainforest by supporting and importing Brazilian beef. Such accusations and hyperbole certainly impeded the company’s corporate messaging from resonating with consumers. But that messaging was pretty well a one-way journey – mechanisms for feedback were not taking advantage of modern electronic communications. Frustrated, McDonald’s Canadian operation decided to try a new tact. In the fall, it launched a huge campaign, based on promoting its quality and boosting its image as a purveyor of good food. The key to the initiative was an interactive website, dubbed Our Food, Your Questions. The
Ailene MacDougall company dedicated it – and significant resources -- to addressing queries, hearsay and myths of all sorts about McDonald’s food. Ailene MacDougall, the company’s senior director of marketing, says the campaign acknowledges that communications is a two-way street. “We have a good story to tell about food,” she said at an agricultural summit in Saskatoon last month, “but people will start listening to us only if we listen to them.” The task was not necessarily to
say something new, according to MacDougall, but rather, “to say what we had been saying for years, but boldly.” The platform for the campaign was simple – be honest, open and transparent. Engage in real conversations with consumers. See what’s really on their minds, why they think quality is lacking. Well, that became very clear, very fast. The questions were blunt, challenging and loaded. For example, is your meat real or fake? If your food comes from . . . natural places, why is it still so
bad for you? Do you use pink slime? Are you feeding us beef or brain? And my favourite, I put fries from several vendors side by side for a few days. They all got moldy except for your fries. It’s been three months. Why is that? Answers to these questions are found on the website either in text or in videos. In fact, more than 18,000 questions have been fielded, and McDonald’s says they’ve all been answered. The campaign has also generated 1.8 million website visits. And while those are significant numbers, the key result comes in gains to the corporation’s credibility. Its research shows a 26 per cent increase in those who believe it’s improving nutritional content, and a 19 per cent increase in those who think McDonald’s quality is on the rise. The timing for such a campaign is perfect. In Europe, a food scandal in which horsemeat was swapped in place of beef has the entire continent on edge. An independent test by the University of Guelph showed beef here was 100 per cent pure. Companies need to constantly assure consumers their standards are beyond reproach, and engage in effective communications. McDonald’s is on the right track.
U.S. FDA rolls out first rules on federal food safety law
ADRIAN HUISMAN ONTARIO TENDER FRUIT PRODUCERS There was an interesting article in The Packer newspaper entitled “Federal Food Safety Law Carries Price Tag” which highlighted the expected costs and benefits of the newly proposed U.S. produce safety regulations. The cost to fruit and vegetable growers was estimated at between $13,000 per year for smaller growers and more than $30,000 annually for large farms – those with over $500,000 in annual sales. The FDA estimates that the new regulations will prevent 1.75 million foodborne illnesses annually. They also calculated the benefit from reduced illnesses
to be $1.04 billion while the estimated cost of the legislation to domestic farms at $460 million annually. So, in their minds, there is a net benefit of $406 million annually. I can’t argue with their math but it should be pointed out that the $1.04 billion in savings to the government and insurance companies (and others) while the $460 million annual cost will almost totally have to be borne by producers who will have no likelihood of recovering them from the market place. Fortunately, Canadian farmers are far ahead of their U.S. counterparts as a result of proactive introduction of the CanadaGAP On-Farm Food Safety Program. It’s good to note that the CanadaGAP program just received GFSI (Global Food Service Initiative) equivalency status. Hopefully this will avoid the need for dual audits (time will tell). I would suggest that Canadian produce exporters pay particular attention to what’s happening down south as these new rules will definitely affect their operations. You can rest assured that the U.S. industry will try to use the new rules as non-tariff barriers.
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Board briefs Following are highlights from the OFVGA board meeting held February 7, 2013. The purpose of this brief is to keep you up-todate on the issues that the OFVGA is working on, as well as projects and initiatives the organization is involved in. New vice chair and management committee Jason Verkaik was elected Vice Chair of the organization. Norm Charbonneau, Brian Gilroy and Jan VanderHout join Verkaik and new Board Chair Ray Duc on the OFVGA Management Committee. OFVGA appoints committee representatives Farm & Food Care – Brian Gilroy Agricultural Adaptation Council – Len Troup, Brenda Lammens Canadian Horticultural Council - Murray Porteous, Brian Gilroy, Adrian Huisman Canadian Federation of Agriculture – Ray Duc, Mark Wales, Ken Forth Canadian Produce Marketing Association – Ray Duc, Jason Verkaik, Art
Smith Erie Agri-Food Innovations – Harold Schooley, Mary Shabatura, Art Smith FFV Tel – Art Smith Farm Safety Association – Norm Charbonneau, David Lambert FARMS – Tony Cervini, John Ardiel, Tom Meidema, Ken Forth, Trevor Falk, Ken Porteous (alt), Steve Versteegh (alt), Tamara Stokes(alt) Horticultural Value Chain Round Table – Brian Gilroy, George Gilvesy Labour Regional Representatives - Ken Forth, Tony Cervini, Hector Delanghe, Steve Versteegh, John Ardiel Labour IssuesCo-ordinating Committee – Ken Forth, Hector Delanghe Ontario Agri-Food Technologies – Harold Schooley Ontario Agricultural Commodity Council – Brenda Lammens, Brian Gilroy, Mark Wales Ontario Federation of Agriculture – Ray Duc, Mac James, Brian Gilroy OMAFRA Research Advisory Network/Theme Advisory Group, Plants – Harold Schooley Royal Agricultural Winter Fair – Brian Gilroy National Safety Nets
Wildlife loss Representative – Mark Wales Canadian Horticultural Council Science Advisory Committee – Brian Gilroy, Harold Schooley Vineland Research and Innovation Centre Stakeholders Advisory Committee – Harold Schooley, Art Smith Labour The Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Service (FARMS) was the recipient of the 2013 Industry Award of Merit, which was presented at the annual general meeting in January. The award recognizes the organiza-
tion’s contributions to the horticulture sector with respect to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). FARMS was formed in 1987 to manage the program’s administration. This includes looking after transportation of workers to and from Canada, negotiating their terms and conditions of employment with both the Canadian and host governments, as well as any other issues that could affect the continued success and longevity of the program. Approximately 20,000 workers come to Canada every year through SAWP and many have been working on the same farm for 20 or 30 years. Crop protection Section chair Charles Stevens reported BASF has received regulatory approval for Zampro. The new product’s label covers it for use with cucurbit, brassica, bulb vegetable, fruiting vegetable and leafy vegetable crops. The National Minor Use Priority Setting meetings will take place in March in Ottawa. Growers are encouraged to attend the meeting as this is where important decisions concerning minor use priorities are made. Additional information about participation is available from OFVGA. Release of the 2013 list of products approved for import under the Grower Requested Own use (GROU) program is anticipated in February. Stevens reported that although some products have come down in price since the program was implemented, price discrepancies between products sold in the U.S. and those sold in Canada remain. GROU allows farmers to apply for permits to import crop protection materials approved under the program into Canada for their own use. The list of approved products is updated annually. Property Work continues with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of the Environment to have horticulture included under the Nutrient Management Act (NMA) with respect to waste and wash water issues. Regulations are now being developed to address nutrient feed water in the greenhouse sector, which encompasses any nutrient-containing solution that will not be used in a greenhouse operation. A discussion paper outlining some of the technical details related to land application of “nutrient feed water” under the NMA will be available on the Environmental Registry for public comment for 45 days www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERSWEB-External/ The study examining wildlife loss in the horticulture sector is being finalized. An update was presented at the AGM in January
by project lead Susan Fitzgerald. The monetary loss to horticulture farmers from wildlife predation is estimated to be $24,753,075 annually. Research Seventeen research proposals were submitted to the Growing Forward II Science Cluster program on February 1, including four apple, three small fruit, two greenhouse, two vegetable and six potato projects. These have a combined value of about $12 million; a possible $20 million in funding is available for the next five years. A study is underway looking at potential repurposing of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research station at Delhi, which will be closed at the end of March. Public consultations are currently taking place and results are expected this spring. The Guelph Food Technology Centre (GFTC), a not-for-profit organization founded in 1994 by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture to service the needs of Ontario’s food and beverage industry, was sold to NSF International Canada at the end of January. NSF will continue to provide services previously offered by GFTC. Assets from the sale of GFTC will be placed into a legacy fund to be administered by the previous GFTC board of directors and will be used to provide food program research funding and scholarships at the University of Guelph as well as local community funding. Erie Innovation and Commercialization Erie Innovation Vice President John Kelly provided the Board with an update of the initiative’s activities since its launch in 2009. Erie was formed to revitalize agriculture and agri-food in the South Central Ontario Region and received funding for a four-year period from various partners, including grower organizations, municipal governments and the Agricultural Adaptation Council’s CanAdvance program. This funding comes to an end in March 2013 and efforts are underway to secure new support to continue Erie’s work. Annual General Meeting and summer tour dates The next OFVGA annual general meeting will take place January 13 – 15, 2014 in Niagara Falls. The 2013 OFVGA summer tour and barbecue will take place August 21, and will be hosted in the Newcastle area. The next OFVGA board meeting will take place Thursday, March 21, 2013 at the OFVGA office starting at 9:00 a.m.
MARCH 2013 –– PAGE 15 THE GROWER
Farm & Food Care’s annual meeting KELLY DAYNARD Farm & Food Care's annual meeting will be held April 2-3, 2013 at the new Hanlon Convention Centre in Guelph. The two-day program will feature three different sessions - all open to members and industry supporters.
April 2, 2013 (Afternoon) Communications and Discussion - Establishing a social contract with Canadians The Farm & Food Care Foundation is in the process of hiring an agency to develop a new framework for proactive dialogue with Canadians that builds
COMING EVENTS 2013 March 5
Ontario Potato Conference, Delta Hotel & Conference Centre, Guelph, ON
37th Annual Tomato Day, Roma Club, Leamington, ON
Mar 10 – 16 Canadian Agricultural Safety Week March 11
FarmSafe Forum, Perennia Innovation Park, Bible Hill, NS
Invasive Alien Species Symposium, The Westin, Ottawa, ON
Mar 12 – 15 Canadian Horticultural Council Annual General Meeting, Westin Hotel, Ottawa, ON March 13
FarmSafe Forum, The Arboretum, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
Mar 18 – 21 Minor Use Priority Setting Workshop, Hilton Lac-Leamy, Gatineau, QC March 19
4th Annual Hazelnut Symposium, “Ramping up the Hazelnut Industry,” Best Western Plus, Brantford, ON 8:30 am – 4 pm
Ontario Tender Fruit District 3 & 4 Annual General Meeting, Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens, Kingsville, ON
Ontario Tender Fruit District 5 Annual General Meeting, Best Western Little River Inn, Simcoe, ON
Ontario Tender Fruit District 1 & 2 Annual General Meeting, Hernder Estate Winery, St. Catharines, ON
Farm & Food Care Social Media Communications Workshop, Hanlon Convention Centre, Guelph, ON
Farm & Food Care 2013 Annual General Meeting, Hanlon Convention Centre, Guelph, ON
April 3, 4
62nd Annual Conference Muck Vegetable Growers, Bradford & District Memorial Community Centre, Bradford, ON
B.C. Greenhouse Growers’ Association Annual General Meeting, White Rock, B.C.
Ontario Agri-Food Education Annual General Meeting, University of Guelph Arboretum, Guelph, ON
Apr 17 – 19 Canadian Produce Marketing Association Convention and Trade Show, Direct Energy Centre, Toronto, ON
trust and confidence in food and farming. The goal of the five-year project will be to create a social contract between Canadians and the people who grow, process and market their food with consideration for the five principles of sustainable food and farming: human health, food safety, economics/food affordability, environment and animal welfare. The draft framework will be presented at an afternoon session on April 2 with facilitated discussion for your input on the strategy and the approach. This session will be free of charge for Farm & Food Care members and supporters. April 2, 2013 (Evening) - Social Media Training Session Twitter? Facebook? Pinterest? What are they all about anyway and how can they help us tell the story of food and farming. This social media workshop will be free to Farm & Food Care members and will be facilitated by Andrew Campbell, former radio journalist, dairy farmer and advocate for agriculture. Campbell is passionate about ensuring farmers know how they can access information like never before, and that consumers know what farmers are doing for them every day. Social media and smartphones are big parts of that equation, and Andrew has spoken to groups across Canada about how they are changing the way farms operate. The workshop will look at best practices, do's and don'ts and how easy it is to talk about what farmers are doing day in and day out. It isn't hard, it just takes a few minutes a day to help improve the image of YOUR business and industry. This workshop is free to Farm & Food Care mem-
bers and supporters, but space is limited to the first 100 that register. Registrations are open. Send an email to email@example.com April 3, 2013 - Farm & Food Care Annual Meeting and Speaker Program Keynote: Is telling your story enough in this crazy world of YouTube and negative headlines? Dr. Wes Jamison, Associate Professor of Public Relations at Palm Beach Atlantic University is a dynamic and thought provoking speaker who challenges conventional thinking about how agriculture should communicate with the public with some innovative ideas. Dr. Jamieson has studied interest group activism and conflict, and has researched public relations related to activist communications and urban-rural conflict. Dr. Jamison's expertise combines public relations, political science, and political communication. The meeting will also include: • What do Canadians and farmers
really think about food, farming, animal welfare and the environment? Ipsos Research Highlights • Highlights of Farm & Food Care's activities from its first year of business. • Presentation of the Farm & Food Care Champion award • Elections by the membership for the 2013-2014 Board of Directors. A more complete agenda for all three events will be available on the Farm & Food Care website. Registrations for the AGM are accessible there. Hotel room reservations A block of rooms has been booked for April 2 for those wishing to attend both April 2 and April 3 meetings. Call the Hampton Inn & Suites, 725 Imperial Road North, Guelph at 519-821-2144 and request a room under the "Farm & Food Care block" if you'd like to reserve one. The cost is $125 which includes breakfast. Kelly Daynard is communications manager, Farm & Food Care Ontario.
Farmers adopting social media Ontario’s first survey of social media and smartphone use reveals an engaged group of farmers. OMAFRA and University of Guelph teamed with Ipsos to tap into use patterns. Here’s what they found from 439 responders: • 95% of respondents are online daily • 62% expect their internet use for agriculture-related purposes will increase; 37% expect it to stay about the same • 79% listed paper-based farm publications as a main source for new agricultural information; an equal number listed the internet • 69% of respondents have a smartphone • 65% of those with smartphones have a BlackBerry product, 23% have an Apple product, 8% are using Android • 74% of smartphone users have downloaded at least one agricultural application • 84% of respondents used social media in the past 12 months • Twitter and YouTube are the most popular social media tools for agriculture-related purposes • 68% of respondents used social media for sharing/capturing agriculture information • 89% of respondents agreed that government should use social networking tools as part of their communication strategy This project was funded by Agri-Food and Rural Link through the OMAFRA-University of Guelph partnership.
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Health and wellness sells!
PETER CHAPMAN The consumer is changing rapidly. Overall the population is getting older and that brings new opportunities for people producing and selling food. We all want to take that drink from the fountain of youth and live a longer, healthier life. Consumers are also much more aware of the food they choose to buy for themselves and their family. Access to more information and the increased focus on health issues have provided a much more astute consumer who is seeking out products with better health attributes. Health and wellness are also a priority for the retailers because there is a good halo effect. Consumers who perceive the
retailer is trying to help them by providing healthier alternatives develop a more entrenched relationship with the store. On average these consumers are more profitable for the retailers. The margins on the healthier items are higher and there are fewer retailers discounting the items. It is very obvious that consumers are changing the way they shop. Stand in the aisle and watch how many people pick up a product and turn it around to find the nutrition facts. There might be a requirement to make the aisles wider for those people who spend five minutes in the canned tomato section looking for the product with the lowest sodium level. There is a significant amount in the media related to health and wellness. There are many examples of very successful television shows that are devoted to health and wellness. A product endorsement from one of these celebrities can be the engine to propel a product into incredible exposure and sales. The Internet is another source of information for the consumer. There are entire websites devoted to food and the products you should put in your body and the ones you shouldn’t. The focus on health and wellness continues to evolve. We started counting calories and
many shoppers were preoccupied with the calorie counts. In the 1990s the focus shifted to carbs. In the last 10 years we have experienced more focus on reducing sodium in the diet. Sodium has been linked to heart disease and obesity. Food processors have been working to reduce the sodium levels in products and in many categories “reduced sodium” products are available. The next wave of focus for health
and wellness will be refined sugar. There is more information all the time about the impact of refined sugar on the body. Food producers will be looking for alternatives to refined sugar. The retailer’s commitment to health and wellness is partially dictated by the economy. If consumers are feeling confident that their jobs are secure and that they have some discretionary income, health and wellness will get more exposure. When the economy is not healthy and consumers are very concerned about expenditures, they will gravitate to the less expensive alternatives that are not as healthy. There is no doubt that items with a health and wellness focus are good sales opportunities. Retailers are looking for these items to drive sales and profit. Often this can be a line extension, which will deliver greater overall sales. Off shelf display space is more available for items that reinforce the retailer’s position on health and wellness. These are great opportunities to drive sales and awareness. Many of the weekly ads have space devoted to healthy alternatives. In the past, these items would not have met the criteria to get into the ad. The sales would
Walmart continues its march across Canada On January 22, Walmart issued a news release outlining their plans for Canada in 2013. They will invest $450,000,000 into stores and infrastructure in Canada this year. That is on top of the $750,000,000 they invested in 2012. The company stated that this will translate into 37 more Super Centers in Canada. Some of these will be new stores and others will be conversions of existing Walmarts to Super Center. They will be opening their first Super Center stores in Atlantic Canada this year. By the end of January 2014 the company will have 388 stores across
Canada. This expansion will position Walmart for the launch of Target, which will start in March and April of 2013. The two U.S. retailers will battle for share in Canada and the other retailers will be fighting to maintain their existing customer base.
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not have been high enough. As retailers work to improve their image in this area, they have created theme ads to support healthier options. Similar to incremental merchandising, these are terrific opportunities to drive sales and increase awareness. It is very important to take advantage of these trends as they materialize. Retailers are famous for taking great items and destroying them. When the consumer responds to an item, the utility of the item changes for the retailer. The product shifts from something that increased sales and profits to an item that will drive traffic. This is our opportunity to discount retail prices and reduce profits to get traffic in the store. If the consumer continues to shift purchasing patterns, the items that will drive people in to the stores will be healthy alternatives. Peter Chapman, a retail food consultant and professional speaker, is principal of GPS Business Solutions, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Peter works with producers and processors to help them navigate through the retail environment with the ultimate goal of getting more items into the shopping cart. firstname.lastname@example.org.
MARCH 2013 –– PAGE 17 THE GROWER
It’s a land of opportunity to improve Canadian vegetable consumption KAREN DAVIDSON What do carrots have over parsnips? It’s an intriguing question when metropolitan consumers rate carrots in their top five vegetables and parsnips come in at the bottom of the pile at number 27. Would a recipe for parsnip crisps make them more palatable? That was the purpose of the Taste and Discover Research Study. Funded by the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Council, the study was designed to take the pulse of consumers’ current vegetable and fruit knowledge and to investigate what tactics might increase consumption. Data was collected from more than 5000 surveys at last November’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair at the Journey to your Good Health Pavilion. Thanks to extra partner funding from the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, and others, the results offer a rich vein of data on 27 vegetables and 14 fruits commonly grown in Canada. “Broccoli is no longer the poster-child for vegetables we love to hate,” says Dan Dubreuil, Cadre Consumer and Market Insights. It’s now one of the top five favourites with science behind its health benefits. The top five are carrots, potatoes, peppers, broccoli and tomatoes. These findings encourage retailers, manufacturers and grower associations to explore how to promote more sales by individual vegetable profile. Sunghwan Yi, a University of Guelph consumer researcher, is excited to see so much detail on each vegetable. He’s curious about why broccoli is much more popular than cauliflower, another cruciferous vegetable. The data would seem to underscore opportunities for cauliflower, especially since it could join the snack category of vegetables that can be eaten raw with a dip. Some of the research indicates that cucumbers, peppers and mushrooms fare much better in popularity when served with dip. The data applies equally to adults and kids. If anything, the data show that vegetables are not a homogenous category. Some vegetables such as squash and potatoes are well suited to stews while others such as fresh asparagus have strong appeal in season. Some formats are more popular than others. Consumers are shunning canned vegetables due to perceptions of salt and preservatives in favour of fresh and to some extent, frozen. For some, frozen vegetables aren’t as palatable due to texture and taste. Neither are consumers homogenous. Changing demographics by ethnicity and age are at play. The message to the pro-
duce industry is to delve more deeply into this research by vegetable and position it according to target groups. Some of the key findings are: • 75% of meal preparers are looking to serve more fresh vegetables • Local sourcing is becoming a mainstream mindset. Where vegetables are grown, how to store and prepare them along with recipes are important purchasing cues • Parents haven’t given up the battle! Households with children serve the same average number of vegetable varieties (11.3 different kinds in 7 days) as those without children. • Recipes should target cultural communities. Be sensitive to the changing ethnicities of the Canadian population and demographics (aging boomers, single households, younger assemblytype cooks). • In dietitians and farmers, we trust. Consumers find these professions the most credible sources of information with food companies and retailers farther down the list. • Ready, set, app! The next opportunity is to develop apps for smartphones and tablets. Just 26 per cent of consumers with smartphones or tablets use food apps, but 45 per cent express a strong interest. No specific food app has a monopoly on this information channel at this time. “It’s an exciting time to develop recipes for our richly diverse communities,” concludes Lois Ferguson, Registered Dietitian
and Manager of the Journey to your Good Health Pavilion. “Gone are the days of the onesize-fits-all recipe.” While most of the study focused on vegetables, some data were gleaned on fruits. Apples, strawberries and grapes are the
most popular with kids. There’s work to do in promoting nectarines, apricots and honeydew melons in this segment. In addition to OFVGA, partner funders included the University of Guelph, Foodland Ontario and General Mills Canada. The Taste
and Discover Research Study will be posted at www.ofvga.org
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2012 Research Chair Report program. HAROLD SCHOOLEY Some programs affecting horticulture research have reached a milestone in 2012 or early 2013
1. Grower in-kind contributions are to be allowed for this round (a contribution that growers have in abundance). 2. It is a five-year program
OMAFRA-U of Guelph Agreement Funding The OMAFRA-U of G agreement concludes its first five-year stretch of a 10year agreement. The present agreement expires Mar 31, 2013. It has been reviewed and changes were made. At this writing final dollar allocations have not been made for the next five years of provincial ORAN funding. Fewer dollars are expected to be invested. At this time interim funding is in place until the next provincial budget comes out. The seven original ORAN themes have been re-jigged somewhat. • $1M has been slated for Production Systems Plants for the next year, down from the $1.2M. • Emergency Management funding remains stable. • Food for Health and Product Development themes are joined and dollars will be shared. • Some themes funding have moved to New Directions where more emphasis can be placed on certain aspects . . . Ag & Rural Policy, Environmental Sustainability (water issues) and Bioproducts (biomaterials in particular). In the just completed round of Letters of Intent phase for Production Systems (the main theme), 43 proposals requesting $5.2M had to be slimmed down to 13 projects to move on to full research proposal stage. These are likely to be pared down another one-third in the end. More need than dollars! Commodity input to the ORAN process is very much needed. To that end OFVGA
3. It remains a 75:25 govt:grower contribution split (something we feared would change). 4. The admin fee for the administering body also qualifies for the 75:25 split (this had created some confusion last time around). 5. The industry contribution can derive from more than just growers. 6. There will be federal funding available for regional projects. This should be especially helpful for the vegetable industry. Last time around they had difficulty coming up with research issues that were national in scope and missed out on funding as a result. The funding allocated for this federal program is $20M over five years; $4M per year – the same as the last round. The challenge here will be to use as much of our allotment for Horticulture as possible. In the first round we garnered less than $5M out of a possible $16M. Nothing to be ungrateful about, but far short of what might have been. $20M in horticultural research by 2018 would do much for Canadian horticulture. Expressions of interest have been received from CHC’s five commodity areas; apples, berries, greenhouse crops, potatoes and field vegetables. Some of these groups have plans for multiple applications. Full research proposals must be submitted by Jan. 22, 2013.
Harold Schooley, (left) and John Kelly review cuttings of sea buckthorn. through AAC. The federal government is now moving towards centralized federal delivery of all future programs. A curious move to be sure because Canada is very large and diverse and these regional councils have worked well responding to local needs. AAC has provided customer service (at least here in Ontario) that has been very efficient, flexible, cost-effective and accountable. And this will be done more efficiently in Ottawa now? Small acreage horticultural crops look even smaller when viewed from the federal stage. Will they be given the same consideration they had when reviews were done by provincial councils? I think not. Erie Innovation and Commercialization
A study is underway to repurpose the AAFC Delhi Research Station slated to close end of March. and VRIC will be conducting another grassroots priority setting session in early 2013 as we did in 2010 in Woodstock. It’s your chance to be heard. Growing Forward II This was the last year for research efforts under Growing Forward I funding. Final reports are due in March 2013. Growing Forward II programs were announced on Dec 13/12. Although late coming out, some of the program parameters are an improvement over those of the previous
Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) On Apr. 11, 2012 AAFC informed the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC) that the current CAAP program will expire in March, 2014 and that there is no role for the regional councils in the delivery of future, federally funded programs. Ontario’s AAC is one of 14 representing every province and territory. Since the beginning of the program 16 years ago ~$140 M of federal funds have been made available to the Ontario agri-food industry
On Mar. 31, 2013 this commercialization support organization completes a fouryear cycle. It will require funding support to continue and this is being sought at present. Erie Innovation was created to help diversify agriculture and agri-food opportunities in southern Ontario. It does this by working with individuals or groups of individuals who can then impact a large number of growers and their businesses. It encourages collaboration, partnerships and networks. Erie Innovation has focused on Food and Health, Bioeconomy and Environment projects. Developing value chains and “pull market” opportunities is its modus operandi. The accomplishments Erie has made over the first four years are impressive. 1. An IQF plant is up and running freezing and packaging a number of different crops. This one plant has the opportunity to impact hundreds of growers of these crops. 2. Hazelnut production and accompanying value chain development will impact nurseries, growers, aggregators, food processors and other processors. This is a growth area. The economic studies are positive. There is potential for 20,000 acres of this crop! 3. Start-up organizations like the Ontario Lavender Association and Ontario South Coast Wineries and Growers Association would not have been formed without assistance from Erie Innovation. Both of these
will add to Ontario’s agri-tourism industry. 4. Erie Innovation has organized seminars and conferences around castor, genomics, biomass, hazelnuts and lavender, bringing in international speakers. 5. Erie has undertaken project management like evaluating market potential in the studies Accessing the Marketplace and Accessing the Broader Public Sector. 6. At present Erie is coordinating a study to repurpose the AAFC Delhi Research Station after its closure in 2012 to see if the assets can continue to be utilized and not lost. There is no other organization in Ontario that operates quite like Erie Innovation. The full value chain approach it employs is distinct. Innovation and commercialization opportunities abound in agriculture and food in Ontario. Enabling the commercialization of innovation at the value chain level can have an immense impact in rural communities because of the number of businesses that are affected. Support for Erie Innovation and Commercialization is being sought from Growing Forward II. It is hoped that the value it generates will be recognized and supported by all. This will be the 10th time I have given this report. I looked back over the past 10 years to see what has changed or evolved over those years. Research Priorities The process to set these has evolved in a good way. From Hort Crop Sub-Committees in 2003 to the ORAN Theme Advisory Groups and industry input of today the system is in good position to respond to our needs. Have the priorities themselves evolved? Pest management issues were the top priority in 2003. They are still top of mind for most commodity groups today. And it stands to reason. Pest management is a dynamic and continually changing challenge. You can never get too comfortably ahead of it. Weeds, insects and plant diseases adapt, mutate or infiltrate the country all the time. You cannot sit still. And if you don’t look after the short-term problems here, there is no long term. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
MARCH 2013 –– PAGE 19 THE GROWER
2012 Research Chair Report The first research dollar available gets spent here. And that’s not going to change. Since 2005 there has been talk of innovation. Competing in the commodity price rut is tough. Innovation research and all those things to pull you out of that price rut are the future. And that’s right. But the growers’ second dollar will be directed there. If he has one. And there’s the rub.
There are few examples of properly functioning value change that involve all in the chain and profit all in the chain.”
Research Faculty The faculty to conduct horticultural research is diminishing. It has been doing so for a decade. It was first noted in the report of 2003. In the last few years more than 20 agricultural scientists have been lost, mostly through attrition in order to balance budgets. More than half of these were horticulture researchers – two in the last year in Simcoe. A dozen years ago the research station in Simcoe had a complement of six resident scientists. Today one scientist allots half of his time there. Science and technology is not in decline. Public dollars are just being spent on things other than food production. Research Funding The research funding picture has two sides to it. Public funding and industry funding. We are transitioning away from expending public resources solely on production agronomy (variety testing, pests, plant nutrition) to a bigger picture. Innovation is the key through advances in plant breeding,
consumer research, human nutrition and health, environmental sustainability, product enhancement, labour efficiencies, source water protection, bioproducts, value chain development etc. The list grows. It’s all very exciting. And it is the way forward. We are being encouraged to Grow Forward in New Directions by channeling public dollars towards innovation. Still have need for the production stuff though! Those pests where the first dollar is spent still need attention first. Or you’re not in business! The view now is that public dollars should be spent on the science of innovation, and producers should solve their own production problems. Put up the dollars. If you want it done, contribute. What’s not changing in this whole picture is the availability of industry dollars for R&D. Returns from the marketplace barely keep pace with rising production costs. Throw food safety and source water protection into the mix and the picture is not so bright. Everything in the research infrastructure can be impacted by this. My report of 2004 contained the following words. “Once established, a good value chain is a self-reinforcing system capable of continuous improvement through involvement of all participants. Properly functioning they can capture and sustain competitive advantage and dynamic growth. A value chain will ‘add value’ to basic commodities by using science to help develop ‘differentiated products.’ This in turn expands markets and enhances profitability.” What happened with that? Little or nothing. There are few examples of properly functioning value change that involve all in the chain and profit all in the chain. Our current “supply chain” system fails to deliver that ‘second dollar’ you need to invest in longer term research and innovation. You will continue to be asked for your 25 per cent contribution. It is time to focus on ways to do that. It has been a pleasure to serve as your Research Chair for the past year and for the past decade. Harold Schooley is chair of the OFVGA research section.
Wally Andres,, Simcoe Research Centre manager, checks on biomass plantings.
A student studies a plot of asparagus at the Simcoe Research Centre.
PEI potato growers commit $500,000 to research over five years The Prince Edward Island Potato Board recently held a series of district meetings with Island potato growers to discuss making research a greater priority for the producer-controlled organization. Meetings held in Alberton, Summerside, Charlottetown, and Montague in midJanuary featured strong attendance from growers and valuable feedback on issues affecting the PEI potato industry. When growers were asked whether they supported making research a greater priority for PEI Potato Board funding, the result was overwhelmingly positive at all meetings, with an approval rate close to 100%. When growers were subsequently asked if they supported the Board budgeting at least $100,000 per year for the next five years to be earmarked for research, the vote yielded equally high levels of support. As a result, the PEI Potato Board will include research coordination and funding
as a more significant part of its mandate. Board funds will be combined with other industry funding to leverage provincial and federal government research funding, primarily under the upcoming Growing Forward II program that begins in April of this year. Potato growers will have a hand in determining which proposed national and provincial research projects will receive funding from the Board based on the merits of the research plan and the research priorities of the Island potato industry. Prince Edward Island will work in partnership with other potato-producing provinces and research partners as part of a national potato research strategy. As well, the Board is working with industry partners, the PEI Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to develop a provincial research strategy for research to be conducted here on Prince
Edward Island. At the end of this time period, growers will then evaluate the return on their investment in research. The potato industry is the single largest economic driver of the agriculture industry
on Prince Edward Island, worth over one billion dollars to the Prince Edward Island economy each year. Prince Edward Island is also the largest potato-producing province in Canada.
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A little more conversation: taking action on farm safety CAROLYN VAN DEN HEUVEL Farmers have a reputation for being “strong, silent types.” Growing up on a farm and getting my hands very much dirty alongside my father, I don’t disagree with some of this “salt of the earth” mystique, but I also think it’s time to move beyond the stereotypes. Farms nowadays can be complex, highly industrialized businesses with product to develop and markets to access. But I know you know that already. What you might not know is how important communication is in this new world of complex, production agriculture. When working with producers on developing written health and safety plans, I always tell them that safety policies, standard operating procedures, and other critical workplace safety documents are not worth the paper they are written on if they aren’t communicated effectively to employees and contractors. It seems sensible but it’s harder said than done. The best bet for achieving outstanding communication is to start off on the right foot. Stress that employees are valued and their health and safety is a priority. Ensure they understand the importance of working safely. Ask them about their previous work experience. Did they
receive any training? Remember to get copies of any certifications or accreditations they may have for your records. If they are a new hire, check their references to ensure they have a positive safety
record. Set a positive example. Make sure your safety policy is communicated to new hires and is posted openly for everyone else to see too. As a farm owner, you set an exam-
ple for health and safety on the farm. So be clear about your responsibilities and live up to them. Safety is a two way street though. Workers will invest in a safe workplace if they feel comfortable raising questions, contributing to safety solutions, participating in safety inspections, and openly discussing safety concerns, incidents and near misses. If you make pre-operational checks on tools, machines, and equipment nonnegotiable, and insist on providing your workers with adequate safety education and training, safety will become a part of your everyday workplace culture. In the event of a near miss, don’t forget, reflect. Conduct an investigation and ask your workers several questions: Who was involved? Where did the incident happen? When did it happen? What were the immediate causes? Why did the incident happen? And how can a similar incident be prevented? Everyone has a role to play in ensuring the safety of your farm, so cultivate an open, positive working relationship with your employees based on communication and trust. For more information on communicating farm safety information or developing your own written health and safety plan, visit www.agsafetyweek.ca.
We’re all recovering safety offenders: recognizing hazards on the farm CAROLYN VAN DEN HEUVEL In the not-to-distant past, I took pride in getting things done around the farm quickly. Everything from jumping in the grain bin without a second thought to performing feats of acrobatic wizardry in order to unclog jammed machinery (I had smaller hands). You name it, I did it. Looking back, it’s not so much that I was a rebel without a cause, as much as I just didn’t realize that I was putting myself in harm’s way. For producers, farming is a way of life. When you live, work and play on your farm, certain activities become second nature. You don’t even think about it, and neither does anyone else. When I work with producers to implement written health and safety plans, one of the biggest challenges, and rewards, is helping farmers and farm workers re-train their brains to recognize hazards. A key activity involved in developing a health and safety plan includes conducting on-farm inspections. These reviews should be conducted regularly by those most familiar with the overall operation of the farm. Hazards are defined as anything that may cause injuries or negatively impact your health. Hazards can take many forms, including stress (lifestyle); pesticides, fertilizers, and disinfectants (chemical); repetitive strain injuries (ergonomic); gases from manure pits, dust from grain and
feed, and animal-borne illnesses (biological); and machinery, livestock and extreme weather (physical). When assessing the degree of risk, inspectors should take into consideration the likelihood or potential of the hazard to cause harm to people or property, as well as the impact of the harm. The more likely, and the more significant the impact of the
hazard, the higher the risk and the more urgent the need to address it. When assessing risk, I tell producers to ask themselves a series of questions. Under what conditions is harm likely to occur? How quickly could that unsafe condition arise? How many workers could get hurt? How badly would they be hurt? When it comes to a specific operation or task, it
may be necessary to outline the degree of hazards associated with each step of a work process. Can a body part get caught in or between objects? Can the worker slip, trip or fall? Is there a danger from falling objects? Is the lighting adequate? Is contact possible with hot, toxic or caustic substances? Is the worker entering a confined space? Is this individual working alone? Take a step back and look at your entire operation. Do you see any potential hazards? What about on your neighbour’s farm? Now do you see any hazards there? You eat, sleep and live your farm, but it’s really important to look at your farm with an outside perspective when identifying hazards. The deeper you probe in identifying hazards on your farm, the safer your farm will be. For more information on identifying hazards or developing your own written health and safety plans, visit www.agsafetyweek.ca. Carolyn Van Den Heuvel has spent the last year helping farmers implement the Canada FarmSafe Plan as a Canada FarmSafe Advisor for the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA). This article was produced in support of Canadian Agricultural Safety Week, which is delivered by CASA, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), and exclusive corporate sponsor Farm Credit Canada (FCC), with support from the Government of Canada through Growing Forward, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative.
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BITS AND BITES
New totes brought to market Macro Plastics and Calpine Containers listened to customer feedback and have worked together to bring two new produce totes to market. Originally designed with grape growers in mind, the MacroTote 5-FV can be used to achieve greater efficiencies when shipping any types of produce and the MacroTote 6-FV is designed to improve product quality, handling, and storage capacity. The new MacroTote 5-FV is a single-piece, injection-molded collapsible tote. Its lightweight construction and ergonomic handles allow for easier handling in the field. Even though it weights only 1.37 pounds, the MacroTote 5-FV has a peak depth of 6.3
inches and is strong enough to hold 36 lbs. of produce. In addition, with a flip style latch and hinged edges, this reusable tote easily folds down flat to 1.34 inches in height, making it extremely cost-effective when used for one-way shipments. “Our customers are very pleased with the durability and functionality of this lightweight tote,” states Peter Piccioli, VP of Ag Sales for Macro Plastics, “they have reported improved pack out and minimized freight costs with its use.” Designed with product quality in mind, the patented MacroTote 6-FV has rounded corners and smooth surfaces to reduce damage during handling. “Swamp” grips on the underside of the tote
allow workers to easily handle the totes during harvest and move product quickly into cold storage. Once there, over 400 air vents in each tote facilitate the flow of air around the produce, extending shelf life. “Our table grape customers have been looking forward to the launch of the MacroTote 6FV,” said Eva Hammond, Marketing Director for Calpine Containers, “with a load capacity of 28 lbs. per tote, and the ability to stack them 3 pallets high with a maximum stack weight of 1,193 lbs., our customers will be able to maximize storage capacity and production.” Source: Macro Plastics news release
Tillsonburg Tube acquires agricultural tunnel maker Tillsonburg Tube announces the acquisition of Tunnel Tech, the Ontario-based manufacturer of three-season, multi-bay high tunnels. They have been shown to be effective in extending season production, producing higher grades and higher yields and preventing against weather losses.
According to Keith Prince of Tillsonburg Tube, the new acting President of Tunnel Tech, “The customization of each installation to meet the needs of individual growers reflects our commitment to customer service and satisfaction. We also provide planning, site measurements, installation,
venting, and management services, with our entire product line made in North America.” Since Tillsonburg Tube manufactures the steel components themselves, they are able to greatly reduce costs to customers and are able to ship orders with very little lead time.
Growing Forward 2 funding begins Three new federal programs under Canada’s new agricultural policy framework, Growing Forward 2 will come into effect on April 1. The $698-million AgriInnovation Program focuses on new products and technologies. This fund began accepting applications last December.
The AgriMarketing Program is now accepting applications. It’s a five-year, $341-million initiative centred on assurance systems, such as food safety and traceability, to meet consumer and market demands. It will also support industry in maintaining and seizing new markets through branding and promotional
activities. The AgriCompetitiveness Program has earmarked $115million to adapt to rapidly changed and emerging global and domestic opportunities. For more details on all three programs, visit www.agr.gc.ca/GrowingForward2
Also joining the new owners and new management team is Kathleen Fouse. Focused on Sales and Marketing, Kathleen brings considerable experience having been directly involved with diverse aspects of the high tunnel industry for many years. She is committed to ensuring both great
customer service and further developing Tunnel Tech’s position in the ever growing market of high tunnels. Source: Tillsonburg Tube press release
Specialty crops blog launched Marion Palbomesai, OMAFRA’s vegetable crop specialist, has started a blog for specialty crop growers. The term specialty (or non-traditional) crop means different things to different people, but for the purposes of her blog, a specialty crop is a low-acreage or niche crop that is generally new to a region. Ontario specialty crops include (but are not limited to) global vegetables, hops, sweet potatoes, specialty fruits (e.g. edible blue honeysuckle, goji berry, sea buckthorn), culinary and medicinal herbs and plants for industrial uses (e.g. biomass crops, fibre hemp). Topics may include crop production; monitoring and management of insects, diseases and weeds, and answers to frequently asked questions about specialty crops in Ontario. Follow http://onspecialtycrops.wordpress.com/
program designed to help Ontario farmers with water taking permit needs
urface Water Services round Water Services
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Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association 105-355 Elmira Road North Guelph, Ontario N1K 1S5 ph: 519-763-6160 ext. 219 cell: 519-222-3272 fax: 519-763-6604 email: email@example.com
Direct farm marketing profit margin calculators Do you know what part of your business generates the most profit? Is it the on-farm retail store, your farmers’ market, or food processing? Carl Fletcher, OMAFRA’s strategic business planning program lead, is publicizing several spreadsheet calculators to help identify the profitable areas of your business. Two Excel spreadsheets geared to small and medium size businesses can help calculate costs and the true source of profitability. Download the spreadsheet calculators at: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/busdev/directfarmmkt/index.html
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PAGE 24–– MARCH 2013 THE GROWER bees. PHI: 20 days Fungicides: 7. Flint Fungicide (trifloxystrobin) is a group 11 fungicide registered for powdery mildew control on strawberries. This product is in the same fungicide group as Pristine and Cabrio. Do not rotate with these products. PHI: 0 days.
New products registered for berry crops in 2013 PAM FISHER, BERRY CROP SPECIALIST, OMAFRA The new 2013 Supplement to Publication 360, Guide to Fruit Production, will be available shortly online or from your local OMAFRA Resource Centre. In the meantime, here are the new products for berry crops that will be included in this publication: Insecticides 1 Actara 25 WG (thiamethoxam) is a Group 4 insecticide registered for black vine weevil adults on strawberries. Do not apply until after bloom. Highly toxic to bees. Pre-harvest interval (PHI): 3 days 2. Admire 240 F (imidacloprid) is a Group 4 insecticide with many new uses on the label. It can be used as a foliar spray on blueberries for control of aphids, blueberry maggot, Japanese beetle adults, or suppression of leafhoppers, and for control of aphids and suppression of leafhoppers on strawberries, currants,
gooseberries, saskatoon berries, elderberries and many of the other crops in the bushberry crop group 13B. Admire can also be applied as a soil application for control of aphids and suppression of white grubs in strawberries. PHI: depends on use pattern and crop. Read the label carefully. • Do not use both a soil application and a foliar application of Admire, or any other group 4 insecticide, in the same year. • Do not spray during the bud or bloom stage or when bees are actively foraging. Highly toxic to bees. 3. Altacor (chlorantraniliprole) is a Group 28 insecticide registered on the bushberry crop group (blueberries, currants, elderberries, saskatoon berries) for control of cranberry fruitworm, cherry fruitworm, obliquebanded leafroller, blueberry spanworm, and for suppression of Japanese beetle. PHI : 1 day 4. Matador 120 EC and Silencer 120 EC (lambda-cyhalothrin) are Group 3 insecticides registered
for black vine weevil control in strawberries. These products are effective at knocking down adult weevils after harvest, but like all insecticides in group 3 (pyrethroids), they break down more quickly and may be less effective at high temperatures (over 27C). Pyrethroids are also very toxic to bees and to predators of cyclamen mites and twospotted spider mites. PHI: 7 days 5. Pyganic Crop Protection EC 1.4 II is a Group 3 insecticide registered on blueberries and raspberries for aphid and leafhopper control. Pyganic has very short residual activity, breaks down quickly in sunlight and is highly toxic to bees. May be approved for some organic production systems. Check with your organic certifier. PHI: 12 hours 6. Warhawk 480 EC (chlorpyrifos) is Group 1B insecticide registered for cutworm control in strawberries, so useful in the planting year. This is a new registration of an older, organophosphate product, also highly toxic to
8. Fontelis (penthiopyrad) is a Group 7 fungicide registered on strawberries for the control of botrytis grey mould. Fontelis is in the same fungicide group as Cantus, Lance and Pristine. Do not rotate with these products. PHI: 0 days 9. MustGrow Crop Biofumigant (oriental mustard seed meal) is a biofumigant, formulated as pellets, registered for suppression of red stele and root lesion nematode in strawberries and suppression of phytophthora root rot and root lesion nematode in raspberries. Apply with a calibrated spreader, in early spring when soil temperatures are above 10 C, but at least 2 weeks before planting. Incorporate into the upper soil layer to a depth of 10-15 cm, followed by irrigation to ensure the top 10-15 cm of soil is well moistened. 10. Phostrol fungicide (mono and dibasic sodium, potassium and ammonium phosphites) is a Group 33 fungicide, registered for suppression of phytophthora root rot on raspberries and control of leather rot on strawberries. PHI: 1 day on raspberries and 3 days on strawberries.
11. Quadris Flowable Fungicide is a Group 11 fungicide registered for suppression of black root rot on strawberries in the year of planting. Apply once in-furrow at planting or a banded drench application immediately after planting to up to 8 days after planting. The pre-harvest interval is 365+ days, so do not use this on day-neutrals. 12. Quash Fungicide is a Group 3 fungicide registered for control of mummyberry, anthracnose and phomopsis control on blueberries. Quash is in the same fungicide group as Topas, Mission, Jade and Funginex, but has a shorter preharvest interval. PHI: 12 days. 13. Regalia Maxx (extract of Reynoutria sachalinensis) is a biofungicide registered for suppression of powdery mildew on strawberries. There is little or no experience with this product in Ontario. Test on a small scale before using more broadly. Regalia Maxx works by stimulating plant defence mechanisms. It works best if applied before there is disease present. Repeat applications at 7-10 day intervals. Use this product in rotation with conventional fungicides. PHI: 0 days 14. Tivano (citric acid + lactic acid) is a biofungicide registered for suppression of angular leaf spot and powdery mildew on strawberries. There is little or no experience with this product in Ontario. Test on a small scale before using more broadly. Multiple applications at 7-10 day intervals are required for control. PHI: not specified on label.
Controlling weed hosts of Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) KRISTEN CALLOW, OMAFRA WEED MANAGEMENT PROGRAM LEAD HORTICULTURE Last year I wrote an article entitled “Herbicide Choices for Controlling Weed Hosts of Spotted Wing Drosophila” this article can be found at: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/hort/news/hortmatt/2012/16hrt12a6.htm Since the publication of this article there have been a number of questions regarding when and where it is okay to spray these weedy hosts: buckthorn (considered an invasive species) cherry, chokecherry, elderberry, mulberry, raspberry, etcetera. All of the herbicides listed can be sprayed in woody areas or along fencerows if the species is on the label. If you are considering spraying near a riparian area, please review the herbicide label carefully to determine the buffer zone requirements for spraying wooded areas and vegetated areas adjacent to water (riparian area). From Wikipedia: A riparian zone or riparian area is the interface between land and a river or
Buckthorn is a host for SWD and also a noxious weed in Ontario.
Some characteristics of Buckthorn are shown in this photo.
stream. Plant habitats and communities along the river margins and banks are called riparian vegetation, characterized by hydrophilic plants. Riparian zones are significant in ecology, environmental management, and civil engineering because of their role in soil conservation, their habitat biodiversity, and the influence they have on fauna and aquatic
and animals often result from the habitat alterations they cause by killing the targeted weeds. For example, loss of invasive riparian plants can cause changes in water temperature and clarity that can potentially impact the entire aquatic community, and the physical structure of the system through bank erosion. Removing a shrubby understory can make a
ecosystems, including grassland, woodland, wetland or even nonvegetative. In some regions the terms riparian woodland, riparian forest, riparian buffer zone, or riparian strip are used to characterize a riparian zone. The word "riparian" is derived from Latin ripa, meaning river bank. The most dramatic effects of herbicides on non-target plants
habitat unsuitable for certain bird species and expose small mammals to predation. Bottom line, read the herbicide label carefully and follow the buffer zone restrictions. If weed hosts of SWD are present within the buffer zone area you cannot spray.
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Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) control in strawberries and raspberries: a grower ’s advice NATHAN NOURSE, NOURSE FARMS, MASSACHUSETTS (adapted from a presentation to the Ontario Berry Growers Association annual meeting February 2013) Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) is a pest that will become more problematic as the summer season progresses. I like to compare them to mosquitoes -- there are always a few in May and June, with increasing populations as conditions become more favourable. In 2012, the early spring brought earlier identifications in traps and crops. Later starts will result in later pressure points. In 2012, above average temperatures delayed and prohibited egg laying. SWD isn’t active when temperatures exceed 30-32 ˚C. As we become more familiar with its habits, we will modify our harvest schedule and crop protection applications. Consequently, most of the June strawberry harvest shouldn’t be affected. However, berries that aren’t harvested on a timely basis, especially in mid to late season, will be a source of habitat for populations to increase. Evidence suggests that strawberry skins tend to be tougher and more difficult for the female to penetrate and lay her eggs. One of our most successful strategies to combat SWD hinges on frequent and timely harvest. As soon as a field has finished being harvested, I would recommend beginning the renovation
Spotted Wing Drosophila damage process. As everbearing strawberries begin to be harvested the year of planting, SWD pressure will be moderate to high. A weekly application of crop protectants and harvesting two to three times per week is recommended. Raspberries will only have low pressure
at the very beginning of harvest, most early varieties won’t be affected much until the last few harvests. Evidence suggests that the softer skin allows female SWD to lay her eggs as fruit turns white to pink. Harvest schedules need to be maintained at every other day intervals. Night time tem-
peratures will determine if pick intervals are increased or decreased. In our fruiting fields, we clean harvest all fields including pick your own before crop protectant applications. When SWD pressure is high and trap counts start doubling, we begin to remove all cull fruit from the field. Similar to strawberry renovation, summer raspberry canes should be removed as soon as harvest is complete. At this time we also removed small primocanes on the edges of the rows that were producing berries. Our strategy allowed us to apply insecticides that had longer preharvest intervals for resistance management. Our goal was to have one to two weeks off between summer and fall harvest and apply one to two longer lasting insecticides to get SWD populations back in check. SWD control strategies that are common to both strawberries and raspberries : • Maintain weekly crop protectant applications. • Maintain frequent harvest schedules. • Don’t allow over ripe fruit to stay on the vine. Even picking it and leaving in the wheel marks will reduce egg development. Leaving berries under the plant canopy will allow more egg development. The sun will cook a lot of eggs in exposed fruit. • Deliver harvested fruit to the cold storage hourly, maintaining temperatures as close to 0˚C as possible through the entire cold chain.
Some new berry varieties for Ontario growers tested as K93-20, is a new short-day strawberry cultivar introduced from AAFCKentville in 2012. ‘Laurel’ is from ‘Allstar’ x ‘Cavendish,’ a cross meant to improve on the firmness, colour uniformity, and disease resistance of ‘Cavendish.’ Ripening in the mid-season, ‘Laurel’ produces large, aromatic, flavourful fruit especially suited to please pick-your-own and direct marketing customers. Trial marketable yields are best described as medium; the highest being 15 t/ha (~10,700 quarts/acre) in 2011 at Kentville. Growers in eastern Canada who have tested ‘Laurel’ on a commercial scale have reported acceptable yields of large berries with excellent flavour that are appreciated by discerning customers. ‘Laurel’ has demonstrated a high level of resistance to red stele root rot and also some tolerance to black root rot. ‘Laurel’ will be available for trial in 2013 from a few suppliers and more widely available in 2014.
PAM FISHER, OMAFRA A few new varieties are making their way to Ontario growers. Developing a new variety takes time. Once the plant breeder decides to name and release a variety, it has to go through the plant propagation process. It can take several years to multiply a new variety for widespread distribution. Nevertheless, some new varieties are available in small quantities for trial. Here are a few that are worth a look, when you can get your hands on them. ‘AAC Eden’ raspberry: Andrew Jamieson, at AAFC- Kentville, Nova Scotia, recently named a new spineless summer-fruiting red raspberry ‘AAC Eden’ (tested as ‘K06-2’). ’AAC Eden’ was selected based on fruit size, firmness and fruit flavour. It is a cross between ‘Glen Ample’ x ‘K93-11’. ‘AAC Eden’ is an early season variety, large fruit size, medium- red in colour, conical in shape with small tight druplets. Growers should try this variety on a small scale until the winter hardiness is determined. However, it is expected to do well in southern Ontario. Finally, a new summer red raspberry! Unfortunately, this variety is not available for trial until 2014. ‘Glen Ample’ raspberry: This summerfruiting red raspberry comes from SCRI in Scotland and was released in 1998. It has complex parentage which includes ‘Glen Prosen’ and ‘Meeker.’ ‘Glen Ample’ is a late-season variety, with very large, meaty
AAC Eden raspberry. Photo by A. Jamieson, AAFC fruit, with large druplets. It is medium-red in colour, with a dull fruit finish. Canes are spineless. Winter hardiness has not been widely tested but Adam Dale reports it was hardy in both Kemptville and Simcoe, Ontario in observation trials. Glen Ample will be available in small quantities for trial from Strawberry Tyme Farms in 2014. ‘Canby’ raspberry: This is an old variety, developed in Oregon from a cross between Viking and Lloyd George. It was popular in the 1950s. Canby was re-discovered by
accident by an Ontario grower and is once again being propagated in the Ontario plant propagation program. Canby is very vigorous, with spineless canes, bright red large fruit and very good flavour. It is probably best suited to pick your own and on-farm sales. Information from Oregon in 1953 suggests that Canby is more sensitive to poor soil conditions than most varieties and should not be planted on heavy or poorly drained soil. Canby is available from Strawberry Tyme Farms in 2013. ‘Laurel’ strawberry: ‘Laurel,’ formerly
‘AAC Lila’ strawberry: Also introduced from AAC-Kentville, NS, in 2012, ‘AAC Lila’ is a short-day strawberry developed from a cross of ‘Queen Elisa’ x ‘Wendy.’ It fruits in mid-season, fruit is consistently shaped, and conical, orange-red to medium red in colour with medium glossiness This variety is not available for trial until 2014. ‘Summer Gem’ strawberry: Adam Dale will announce the release of his new summer -bearing, late season strawberry variety, Summer Gem, at the OBGA annual meeting. This variety is available now from Strawberry Tyme Farms.
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Converyorized scale suited to sticky products The PrimoLinear C-Series linear scale can weigh and fill the most difficult of products as it is engineered to use conveyors as opposed to traditional vibratory feed pans to transfer product. This conveyorized scale is designed to automatically weigh and dispense food products that are sticky, wet or very delicate into bags, trays, boxes or bottles. It’s often used for fresh vegetables and fruit. The C-Series scale is designed for small to bulk weights, ranging from five grams to 100 lbs depending on the model. These models are available in one to four-lane configurations based upon production requirements. Mechanical features
include tool-less disassembly and removal of conveyors, hopper, weigh bucket, and funnel for efficient sanitation and product change over. All PrimoLinear scales include an industrial PC panel touch screen and bundled software including Windows, Skype, VNC, LogMeIn and Crystal Reports. Software features include remote online support, automatic scheduling, custom security configuration, unlimited recipes, multiple language settings and much more. For more information, see www.weighpack.com or call 1.888.934.4472.
CanadaGAP Food Safety Manuals updated The CanadaGAP Food Safety Manuals have been updated for 2013. For certification purposes, the new manuals take effect on April 1. 1) Fruit and Vegetable Manual, Version 6.1: covers field/orchard/vineyard-grown crops (i.e., Combined Vegetable, Leafy Vegetable and Cruciferae, Potato, Small Fruit, and Tree and Vine Fruit) 2) Greenhouse Manual, Version 6.1: covers greenhouse-grown vegetables.
The revised manuals have been reviewed and the changes approved by Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The documents are available as a free download on the CanadaGAP website at: http://www.canadagap.ca/ Documents summarizing commodityspecific differences and changes made from previous versions of the manuals are available at: www.canadagap.ca/manuals/ manual-downloads/ "The requirements remain largely
unchanged for 2013," said CanadaGAP technical manager Amber Bailey, adding that “the majority of revisions to the manuals are editorial in nature, to clarify or further explain existing requirements.” CanadaGAP’s executive director, Heather Gale, indicated that “a few additions were needed to meet requirements of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), to which CanadaGAP is benchmarked.” The hazard analyses on which the
CanadaGAP manuals are based are commodity-specific, ensuring that any issues or scientific developments affecting an individual commodity will continue to be addressed with the appropriate technical rigour. A corresponding update to the CanadaGAP audit checklist will be issued prior to the effective date.
Hort research potential in Kapuskasing The former Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Beef Research Farm in Kapuskasing, Ontario is expected to change ownership during the spring of 2013. An initiative supported by Cochrane District and implemented by the municipality of the Town of Kapuskasing will see the facility soon re-open as the ”Agri-North Innovation Centre (ANIC)/ Centre d'innovation en agriculture nordique (CIAN)”, providing the agricultural and forestry communities with new opportunities in northern agro-forestry research. The new, not-for-profit corporation plans to market research and demonstration infrastructure to industry, academia and government clients interested in the agroforestry opportunities offered by a rapidly-changing northern environment. Situated in the heart of the OntarioQuébec great northern clay belt, ANIC is well-positioned to support research to underpin farm and agricultural
development. The great northern clay belt is the largest tract of undeveloped land in North America that is available at reasonable land prices for development as farms and ANIC will play a key role in realizing this huge potential. Over the next five to 10 years a combination of relatively low land prices and a steadily warming climate is expected to nurture new farm development, in both crops and livestock – beef, alternative livestock, grains and oilseeds, agro-forestry, and horticulture. This development will present challenges that can be effectively addressed through research and adaptive trials. ANIC will provide infrastructure resources through which this work can be conducted on an as needed basis at a cost lower than clients acquiring and maintaining their own research infrastructure. The Centre will comprise 325+ hectares of arable land adjacent to the town of Kapuskasing, District of Cochrane.
While certainly suited to beef research, ANIC is also an ideal location for research on short season crops of all types. Northern-adapted horticultural crops, including small fruit, vegetables and ornamentals are expected to form an important part of the mix. Future development will include the planned installation of a controlled environment (greenhouse) facility suitable for developing and demonstrating the cost effective culture of vegetable and other nutritious food crops for the North. ANIC will operate under a very flexible business model with the opportunity to undertake a full spectrum of research, development and pilot-scale commercial activities. For further information please contact: Email Dr. Glenn Coulter, Integrity Intellectual Property Inc., at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Register for the 91st CHC annual general meeting Guest speakers for the upcoming CHC AGM will include March 13 Opening Luncheon guest of honour and speaker, Her Excellency Sheila Sealy Monteith, High Commissioner of Jamaica to Canada. Her Excellency will speak to the decadeslong relationship between Jamaica and Canada and the life-changing impact the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program has had on the country and its people.
Dr. Hasan Hutchinson, Director General, Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion (Health Canada) will address the March 14 luncheon and outline initiatives being undertaken in the area of health promotion that will be of particular interest to horticulture. The CHC is hosting an Invasive Alien Species Symposium on Tuesday, March 12 in conjunction with the AGM. Pre-registra-
tion, which is complimentary, is required. In 2012, the CHC: AAFC-PMC Invasive Alien Species Coordination Group was formed in response to growing industry concern related to the threat of invasive species. Two Technical Working Groups; one for Spotted-wing Drosophila (SWD), and one for Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) were created to provide a structure for facilitating and coordinating pest
management research and outreach efforts to support the development of mitigation strategies for Canadian growers affected by designated invasive alien species (IAS). The symposium will provide an excellent opportunity for presentations and the exchange of information as related to prevalence and management strategies for these pests.
ness to move forward with proposed changes in the immediate to medium term. Other groups, such as the processing sector, noted that additional time would be needed to adapt. To validate this feedback, the CFIA plans to launch a formal consultation in 2013 as part of the standard regulatory amendment process. Proposed changes, which will include a flexible implementation time frame of up to five years, as well as a detailed assessment of potential impacts, will be posted on the Canada Gazette website. Until the regulatory process concludes,
the current regulations will remain in force. CFIA compliance and enforcement activities will continue. In addition, Ministerial Exemptions and Test Market Authorizations related to container sizes will continue to be administered. The proposed removal of these restrictions will give consumers greater selection and allow industry to take full advantage of new packaging innovation, formats and technologies. As they can do now, consumers will continue to be able to compare prices and the CFIA will continue to enforce specific Canadian labelling
requirements, such as bilingualism and weight. Canada has a strong reputation for highquality, safe food products, and for producing products that buyers want, here and around the world. Increased consumer demand, new product development, and expanding international trade provide additional opportunities for the sector. The CFIA will continue to work with industry to help them remain competitive and innovative.
Container sizes The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is proposing to eliminate current restrictions that limit the size of containers for certain foods. These restrictions provide no food safety benefit. Proposed changes would enhance consumer choice and provide greater consistency across the food industry as the vast majority of food products have no container and packaging size requirements. Over the past several months, the CFIA undertook discussions with industry on the decision to remove container size restrictions. Certain sectors identified their readi-
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PAGE 28 â€“â€“ MARCH 2013 THE GROWER
The science behind the next generation of fungicides
ANDREW DORNAN Developing fungicides with single site modes of action has been the industry standard for the past several years. Recently, a trend has developed towards combining single site fungicides in order to provide better protection for growers. In many cases, not only do these co-formulations expand the disease spectrum, but they also provide two modes of action that can work against the same pathogen to help fight resistance. Historically, when encountering two or more diseases, growers have often tank-mixed two or more different products. Now they can use co-formulation products that contain two modes of action for protection against both diseases. While many growers and industry experts see the benefits
of co-formulation products, there are also inherent risks associated with them. They require a good understanding of the modes of action that are contained within the products. For example, if a grower uses a co-formulation product that contains a Group 7 mode of action, they should avoid over using this Group 7 chemistry during the spray season. Growers should follow the Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC) recommendations which are available on all product labels. The problem of resistance isnâ€™t new, but more recently it has become one of the biggest influencers when developing new fungicides. Currently, apple growers have to manage confirmed resistance to apple scab from some of the most popular single site fungicides in-market; Group 3 and Group 11 fungicides. When developing a new grape and apple fungicide for Canada,
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we at Bayer CropScience, considered current and future resistance probabilities. New tools are already available for growers With the 2013 growing season approaching growers can already access these newer technologies. A good example of a new co-formulated fungicide is Luna Tranquility. Launched by Bayer CropScience this year Luna Tranquility utilizes two modes of action; a Group 7 (fluopyram) and a Group 9 (pyrimethanil). Both modes of action have excellent activity on powdery mildew and leaf scab in apples, including strains that are resistant to Group 3 and Group 11 products. There are also other new Group 7 products that are on the market already or coming soon. The technology isnâ€™t limited to one crop, with grape growers also benefiting from this new product as it is the only fungicide to control both powdery mildew and botrytis in grapes. Best practices for sustainable disease protection â€˘ Fungicide resistance highlights the importance of having a comprehensive integrated pest management program. Resistance is more likely to develop when growers apply a fungicide after the disease is already present in the crop. Itâ€™s important for growers to have a preventative program in place even though some products provide post-infection disease control properties. â€˘ When tank-mixing or using coformulation fungicides itâ€™s important that growers remember theyâ€™re using chemistries from two different Groups instead of
one when planning their spray program. Most growers are already very good at planning spray programs with good fungicide rotation practices, but with increasing occurrence of resistance this planning is even more important. â€˘ Where possible growers should consider tank-mixes of fungicides with a single mode of action or co-formulation products with multi-site modes of action such as EBDC fungicides. The advantage of the multi-site mode of action is reduced selection pressure on resistant disease strains. â€˘ When it comes to fungicide application, dosage also plays an important role in ensuring the crop receives the right amount of protection. Growers should avoid cutting rates as this leads to reduced or partial disease control and higher chance for resistance
down the road. â€˘ Co-formulation fungicides are beneficial because they require no mixing and therefore offer a smaller margin for error when applying, not to mention the convenience of having to open only one jug. With any fungicides, growers should always read the label and follow the directions outlined to ensure the highest level of protection on their crops. We at Bayer CropScience will continue to pay close attention to what growers need and are committed to preserving the benefits of any new developments. Our next generation of fungicides is part of our commitment to local growers and Canadian horticulture. Andrew Dornan is the Field Development Representative for Horticulture with Bayer
MARCH 2013 –– PAGE 29 THE GROWER
U.S. Agriculture Workforce Coalition seeks immigration solutions Canada's US colleagues have long looked to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program with envy as they grapple with human resource issues. A new coalition of farm groups has been established to present a unified voice for agriculture as the US Congress considers immigration reform in 2013. The Agriculture Workforce Coalition includes organizations that represent specialty crops, and broader agricultural groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation. The coalition is backing a solution that includes an earned adjustment in status for current farm workers and a program to ensure that producers continue to have access to a workforce even as harvesters move to other seasonal crops, according to a news release. The coalition is committed both to meet the needs of seasonal employers and those farm employers who provide yearround jobs, according to the release. In a news release Tom Nassif,
president and CEO of Western Growers, noted “Agricultural employers have come together as never before in lock-step and agreement about a workable proposal that will serve the needs of farmers, workers and the American people. The time for immigration reform is now.” Nancy Foster, president of the Vienna, Va.-based U.S. Apple Association, said in the release that 20 billion apples must be picked each year by hand. Apple growers face a labor crisis and need immigration reform to ensure American apples are harvested each year” Tom Stenzel, president of the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, said in the release that the new coalition brings the nation’s leading agricultural organizations to deliver a unified voice. “Having a stable and viable workforce has never been more critical for our nation’s fruit and vegetable industry,” he said in the release. Photo by Glenn Lowson.
PAGE 30 –– MARCH 2013 THE GROWER
MINOR USE CRAIG’S COMMENTS
The importance of the Minor Use Program
CRAIG HUNTER OFVGA The annual Minor Use Priority-Setting meetings are coming up again in late March. These are a unique part of the Canadian Minor Use Program that ensures the work to be done towards registration of Minor Use Pesticides is indeed directed to growers’ needs. The very ‘Grass-Roots’ nature of the priority process sets us apart from the IR-4 (U.S. Minor Use Program) approach. That is not a bad thing, nor is it a criticism of their approach. When our system was first put into place, it came after much grower lobby effort to convince government that growers were in desperate straits and we wanted to assure them that any work done was truly for grower needs. There was an obvious skepticism from government that we were just doing work at company bidding. In fact, there was downright cynicism that we could even meet to set priorities without bitter rancor and even physical confrontation! The first year there was even a ‘bouncer’ hired to be on hand, just in case…!
Over the past ten years of the meeting, it has become quite evident that we did the ‘right thing’ by having as much direct grower input into the process as possible. Having said that, the number of actual growers has declined somewhat as they have come to depend upon input by their association staff, provincial representatives, and others in the same commodity from elsewhere in Canada. The commodities that are organized nationally have been able to meet prior to the sessions to fine tune their needs and then push for them in an organized fashion. Good on them! Other groups have cottoned onto this concept, and as a result, much time has been saved in the process. The very small low-acreage commodities have a serious disadvantage unless they can convince the others present of the true need that they may have. Likewise the groups that wanted to advance bio-pesticides or products that meet the needs of the organic sector faced a serious uphill battle until a separate process and separate day were created for their needs. Now their needs are better presented, and the possibility for action increased. In the beginnings of the program, there were three days set aside, one each for insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. The needs were such that this made complete sense. Today there are far more fungicide needs than the others, and many more insecticide than herbicide needs expressed. The staffing of positions at the Pest Management
Centre was originally aligned to these disciplines, but today they are much more able to work on any project. It may be time for the Advisory Group to consider and discuss some re-alignment of the
I applaud the decision to take a leadership role on these pests, as much to minimize the work needed toward registrations as to ensure the rapid response as they become more pestiferous here in Canada.” distribution of priorities to the areas of greatest grower need. Another set of ‘work’ that the Centre has undertaken is in the area of invasive pests- namely Spotted Winged Drosophila and Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Twenty years ago this would have been done by Research Branch and the fore-runner of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Today, neither is well placed or adequately funded to do this kind of work. Nonetheless the grower need is huge with such omnivorous feeders, and the crop loss potential so devastatingly high. I applaud the decision to take a leadership role on these pests, as
much to minimize the work needed toward registrations as to ensure the rapid response as they become more pestiferous here in Canada. In a parallel area, the work of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research branch toward finding new solution chemistries to replace pesticides lost due to re-evaluation or to pest resistance must continue at a high pace. I applaud the work of Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) which recognizes the severe problems (potentially) that could arise with sudden market withdrawal of some older products. The finding of alternatives has provided some ‘breathing space’ desperately needed. Unfortunately, there is not a plethora of new candidate products to replace controls for root maggots, or for soil fumigants to control plant diseases, insects, and weeds. Given that some of these are quarantine pests that could affect trade, a concerted effort is needed to work with the tools available. The Pest Management Centre has lived up to its original promise, and more. I for one, hope that it is allowed to continue to meet all of its original intent without becoming less efficient as it is asked to take on further responsibilities. Likewise, I trust that it gets internal recognition for continuing to meet grower needs and expectations. In a time of public disillusionment about government programs, this one stands out as one that has full grower support. Growers will keep supporting it as they receive the benefit of the outcomes of the
work. Since there are virtually no alternatives to getting the data needed toward registrations, I suspect the program will continue to function for many more years as we deal with new pests, pest resistance and regulatory decisions. Another measurement of success is to see how others look upon our approach. In past years we have had representatives of IR-4 attend to help us by sharing of their experience. This year I understand we will have representatives of some other countries attending so ‘see how we do it.’ They are intent in getting such a system put in place for their growers. There is no greater praise than the copying of what you do by others. There is also no better way to encourage further international cooperation and shared effort than to have others wanting to work with you on projects. I see all of this to be common practice in just a few more years. (Who could have envisioned this, just ten short years ago?) Grower support for the Priority-Setting meetings is one key way to measure their interest. I hope the needs could go down, but every year they seem to go up. It is always important to work on the most important ones, and this year will be no different. I hope to see YOU at this year’s meetings March 18-21st in Gatineau, which is just across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill!
New ways to think about spider mites ability to adapt to chemicals such as miticides. At the University of Western Ontario in London, Miodrag Grbic and an international group of scientists have discovered the genetic makeup of Tetranychus urticae, the two spotted spider mite (TSSM). This mite, the most common spider mite in Ontario, feeds on more than 150 plant types worldwide. Grbic’s team has sequenced the genome of TSSM which has enabled a better understanding of this organism. These researchers are using the spider mite as a model for cell-content feeding insects (includes thrips and aphids) in order to develop environmentally-friendly pest control strategies. This research involves scientists at Western, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, along with interested growers and industry partners. Ontario Apple Growers are participating in this research. For more information, visit www.spidermite.org
IAN SCOTT If you look closely at vegetable leaves that appear to be yellowing and covered with webs, there is a good chance you will meet a spider mite. These close cousins of spiders are common pests of many Ontario fruits and vegetables, and do well when hot, dry weather favours their rapid population growth. Predictions are that we may see more of these agricultural pests with an increasing number of hightemperature summer days. For growers, this means greater time and resources to manage this pest of tomato, cucumber, soybean, apple and many other typical Ontario field and greenhouse crops. Currently, there are ways to control spider mites such as oil sprays, acaricides/miticides or biological control agents such as predatory mites. However, continuous use of chemicals leads to reduced control since spider mites can develop resistance and cross-resistance between different chemical classes. A locally-led research team has uncovered many interesting facts related to spider mites’ feeding preferences, physiology and the genetic-based mechanisms behind their
Dr. Ian Scott is an insecticide toxicologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. This article is reprinted courtesy of the Ontario Apple Growers’ newsletter.
MARCH 2013 –– PAGE 31 THE GROWER
Fungicide label expanded to control diseases on muskmelons and field peppers JIM CHAPUT, OMAFRA, MINOR USE COORDINATOR, GUELPH The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of URMULE registrations for Allegro 500F fungicide for control of downy mildew, gummy stem blight and Alternaria leaf spot on muskmelon (incorrectly called cantaloupe) and for suppression of Phytophthora blight on field peppers in Canada. The active ingredient fluazinam was already labeled on potatoes,
Brassica vegetables, legumes, bushberries, ginseng, carrots and apples for several important diseases. These minor use projects were jointly sponsored in 2007 by Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Pest Management Centre (AAFCPMC) and U.S. IR-4 program as a result of minor use priorities established by growers and extension personnel. The minor use label expansions for Allegro 500F fungicide are a significant step towards developing an improved pest management toolkit for these diseases in Canada. The following is provided as
No. apps / year
Downy mildew, gummy stem blight, Alternaria leaf spot
an abbreviated, general outline only. Users should consult the complete label before using Allegro 500F fungicide. Allegro 500F fungicide should be used in an integrated pest management program and in rotation with other management strategies
to adequately manage resistance. Follow all other precautions and directions for use on the Allegro 500F fungicide label carefully. For a copy of the new minor use label contact Janice LeBoeuf, OMAFRA, Ridgetown (519) 674-
1699 or Jim Chaput, OMAFRA, Guelph (519) 826-3539 or visit www.bartlett.ca/bartlett/ default.htm or www.syngentafarm.ca/labels/
RIMON 10EC for management of peach tree borers Adult peach tree borer on stone fruit The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of a minor use label expansion for Rimon 10EC insecticide for control of lesser and greater peach tree borer on stone fruit, crop group 12 in Canada. Crop group 12 includes cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums. Rimon 10EC (novaluron) was already labeled for management of several insect pests on strawberries, bushberries, apples, stone fruit, Brassica vegetables, peppers, beans, sweet corn, celery and potatoes in Canada. This minor use project for stone fruit sponsored by the minor use office of OMAFRA was submitted in early 2012 in response to minor use priorities identified by producers and extension personnel in Canada. The addition of these pests to the Rimon insecticide label will provide stone fruit growers with an important pest management tool. The following is provided as an abbreviated, general outline only. Users should consult the complete label before using Rimon 10EC insecticide. Rimon insecticide can be applied as a direct application to the tree trunk and scaffold limbs at 1.4 L of product per 1000 L of water for control of lesser and greater peach tree borers. Do not exceed 2000 litres of water per ha and do not apply more than three applications per season. Apply at three week intervals starting seven – 10 days after 1st trap catch. Do not apply within 14 days of harvest of stone fruit. Rimon insecticide should be used in an integrated pest management program and in rotation with other management strategies. For copies of the new supplemental label contact Wendy McFadden-Smith, OMAFRA, Vineland (905) 562-3833 or Jim Chaput, OMAFRA, Guelph (519) 826-3539 or visit www.chemturaagrosolutions.com
PAGE 31 –– MARCH 2013 THE GROWER
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MARCH 2013 –– PAGE B1 THE GROWER
ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONVENTION MARKETPLACE
CELEBRATING 133 YEARS AS CANADA’S PREMIER HORTICULTURAL PUBLICATION
Environment, efficiency themes emerge
Al Irwin, Best Packaging, demonstrates the packaging savings of the new 3M patented stretch tape that ensures breathable pallets,
KAREN DAVIDSON What is innovation? Is it for early adopters only or is it something an entire industry can embrace? For the first time, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention launched a search for most innovative service and product among exhibitors at the show, asking a jury to
Brian Sutton, Provide Agro, is currently installing Aqua Pulse Systems chlorine dioxide water treatment in a Leamington area greenhouse. Photos by Denis Cahill.
judge what constitutes innovation. “We wanted to give an incentive to trade show participants,” says Tony Sgambelluri, chair, OFVC committee. “We’re always trying to keep our show new and cutting edge. I think the two winners are demonstrating cool and unique products and services.” Judges were pleasantly surprised by exhibitor enthusiasm for this new award with four applicants in the service
category and nine for the product category. The jury was chaired by Adrian Huisman and consisted of Ryan Schuyler, Jamie Warner and Karen Davidson. Criteria included degree of innovation, potential for cost savings, impact on industry, environmental benefits and any other features which were unique.
Most Innovative Product
Most Innovative Service
Best Packaging wins for its Stretch Tape System for palletizing produce. The combined system of machine and tape will contain a pallet load equal to 80 g. stretch wrap while offering a 95 per cent source reduction and 100 per cent ventilation. This patented 3M tape offers 95 per cent source reduction and 100 per cent ventilation. “By stretching the tape, the tensile strength is increased to 40 pounds per inch at 650 per cent stretch,” explains Al Irwin and Dave Sweetland. “When application tension is released, elastic memory contracts the tape enough to tighten the load but not crush the carton. It’s a secure load that can breathe.” An important feature is that the product is graphics-friendly. When stretched during application, the tape loses adhesion properties for simple removal without delaminating labels and printing. There’s also the benefit of reduced cost, space and waste. “To save material cost and storage space, you use less tape than stretch film or netting to secure the same load size,” says Irwin. “At the receiving end, there’s also less waste for disposal – a benefit to point out to your customer.” Finally, the fresh fruit and vegetable market can benefit from the use of stretch tape because the pallet is not completely covered. This property prevents condensation that could weaken a corrugated box.
Provide Agro is the winner for its AquaPulse Systems for chlorine dioxide water treatment. “As the industry moves away from the use of chlorine, due to health and environmental issues, chorine dioxide is the preferred alternative,” says Brian Sutton, Provide Agro, a newly formed company of N.M. Bartlett Inc. Chlorine dioxide has the added benefits of reducing development of scale and biofilm in water systems. Removal of biofilm is critical to pathogen control as well as efficient use of water. The result, he adds, is clean emitters, with less clogging, clean pipes, improved energy efficiency for cooling towers and ice equipment. Provide Agro is now offering the service which includes the equipment, ongoing service and maintenance for a monthly fee based on water volumes treated. The equipment incorporates monitoring, control and data recording of sanitizer levels in a number of applications. The service package includes client access to the web, where an accessonly code allows real-time monitoring and ability to adjust sanitizer levels on multiple applications. A sanitizer system is not something to install and walk away from. It needs constant supervision to be effective and to meet requirements of HACCP and CanadaGAP programs. Most important, there is no capital cost for the generation equipment explains Sutton. “Charges are based on water volume use and the customer is not locked into a long-term contract. This fee structure can open the door to a great food safety tool, that may be otherwise unobtainable due to limited seasonal use or high capital costs of other equipment.” Provide Agro is currently completing several AquaPulse Systems dioxide projects in Ontario, including a hydroponic vegetable operation and a nursery farm.
PAGE B2 –– MARCH 2013 THE GROWER
ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONVENTION
Horticulture’s showcase shines For any trade show, surpassing last year’s statistics feels like horse-jumping. Your heart is in your throat with every hurdle passed cleanly. That’s the case for the 11th annual Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention. The venue at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls is attracting a broad spectrum of exhibitors with the capacity to showcase big equipment. Many attendees gave thumbs-up to the complimentary parking courtesy of the Niagara Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association and TD Canada Trust. “I think the story is that we saw growth in both attendance and exhibitors,” says Steve Watt, marketing coordinator. “In my opinion, this can be attributed to the strength, dedication and commitment of our committee and partners to put together the best possible convention. Year one at the Scotiabank Convention Centre was a learning year and we responded this year with improvements across the board.” Highlights include:
• Just under 2,000 attendees with many educational sessions recording standingroom only • 200 exhibitors with the opportunity to announce upcoming events such as Vineland Growers Cooperative Ltd 100th anniversary party on June 15 • First annual Great Ontario Hopped Craft Beer Competition • Third annual Ontario Sweet Cider Competition • Launch site for new products such as Bayer CropScience’s Luna Tranquility fungicide, Grape Growers of Ontario mobile app, Martins Family Fruit Farms’ Apple Chips, Supplyrite Steel’s vineyard training system, Summer Gem strawberry variety and more • Demonstration site for Vineland Research and Innovation Centre’s robotic arm for packing apples • Meeting site for Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association and Farmers’ Markets Ontario Mark your calendar for next year’s show: February 19 and 20, 2014.
Eric Van Der Zwet (left) and Migiel Besseling explain the benefits of their controlled atmosphere system.
The Grower’s photographer recorded Mark Delanghe submitting the sweet cider entry for Delhaven Orchards. It turned out to be the first place winner.
(Left to right) Mary Ruth McDonald, Cathy McKay, Bryan Durst and Jason Deveau performed jury duties for the OFVC Student Poster Competition. Congratulations to first-place winner, Dennis Van Dyk; second place to Brian Collins and third place to Braden Evans.
Smell – and taste -- the first Great Ontario Hopped Craft Beer Competition sponsored by Goal Zero. Entries were judged on aroma, appearance, flavour and overall impression. The winning team was Duggan’s Brewery (brewer) and Heritage Hill Organics (hop grower) from Dalston, Ontario.
Joe Pilliterri, Lakeview Vineyard Equipment, demonstrates the latest in leaf trimming equipment. Photos by Denis Cahill.
MARCH 2013 –– PAGE B3 THE GROWER
ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONVENTION
Retracing the steps to China’s great wall of strawberries KAREN DAVIDSON Look up, way up at the strawberries. Three-dimensional cultivation of strawberries is the latest in strawberry production, a system that can be winched down to waist height for comfortable picking. That was just one of the marvels that Ontario growers Peter and Ellen Jennen witnessed at last year’s 7th International Strawberry Symposium hosted in Beijing, China. They described their February 2012 trip as the “Olympics of strawberries.” The convention attracted 1600 delegates of which 700 were from abroad. “The way the Chinese are expanding in strawberries, there’s no doubt that they will dominate the processing industry,” says Peter Jennen. “I can’t see that the Chinese are a threat to the fresh strawberry market in Canada.” China’s capacity is impressive at 280,000 acres, but more important, is productivity per acre. Tunnel technology is high art to the Chinese, with the aforementioned vertical farming that makes the most of the higher-cost controlled environment. Impressive research funds are behind the testing of new varieties that are disease-resistant and flavourful. In one commercial venture, Tianyi Biologicial Engineering is managing 1800 solar greenhouses of strawberries and supporting
experimenting with June-bearing varieties that are currently popular in Germany, Spain and Holland. These varieties have a proven track record under tunnel systems and are heavy producers early in the season. In a nod to the Australians, the Jennens are pleased with the new practice of mowing day-neutral strawberries after the first set to encourage a more vigorous harvest in regrowth. “We’ve tried this on six bays under plasticulture,” says Jennen. “Only the crowns are poking out of the plastic, but I really like what I’ve seen and will expand the practice more widely this coming season.” Thanks to California researchers who bred the strawberry varieties that the Jennens have planted, more precise, nitrogen fertilizer rates and timing have come to the fore. The Jennens have grown strawberries in tunnels for five years now, but realize that every small thing can add up to more consistent and longer production. Currently, the system extends the spring season by 10 days and by using frost covers within the high tunnels, strawberries can be picked two to three weeks later in the fall. The trek to China has captured the Jennen’s interest in vertical horticulture. There’s potential to install a trough system in their tunnels – essentially an oversized
Chinese researchers are testing cold-frame greenhouses fuelled only by solar heat.
400 farmers. As part of their vertically integrated set-up, the firm has built a GAP-certified fruit processing plant. Besides these high-tech ventures are low-cost experiments. Chinese researchers are testing cold-frame greenhouses with only solar heat. Situated beside brick walls which trap daylight sun, the greenhouses are warmed by the heat released at night. Remarkably, ripe strawberries were being harvested in February despite ice on ponds outside. The temperatures were similar to those experienced in Ontario winters. As impressive as the Chinese technology is to visitors, some of the key lessons were gleaned from other symposium participants. Through new European connections, the Jennens are
eavestrough of cocoa fibre mats that might allow two layers of production. Other U.K. growers have cautioned that when strawberries are three feet off the ground, they might not ripen so fast in early spring. The question is whether to forfeit the earlier sell date in favour of more costefficient labour in the harvest. That’s a question to be answered by a sharp pencil. If there was any overarching theme of the symposium, it was how to grow strawberries – one of the most perishable of fruits – in more climate-controlled conditions. This concern is front and center for Canadian producers. Just this winter, the Jennens are experiencing wide variances in temperature from minus 20 degrees C to plus 10 degrees C in a matter of days at their
Delegates to the 7th International Strawberry Symposium, Ellen Jennen (pictured) and her husband Peter, travelled to Beijing China. They shared their slide show with OFVC attendees. Thamesville, Ontario farm. Perhaps the researchers at Laval University will have a role in meeting these new weather
challenges. Researchers Yves Desjardins and Andre Gosselin along with a dozen Quebec growers attended the Chinese confer-
ence in advance of their own Olympics. The next symposium is slated for August 14 – 17, 2016 in Quebec City.
PAGE B4 â€“â€“ MARCH 2013 THE GROWER
ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONVENTION
Community-supported agriculture flourishes in the urban shadow KAREN DAVIDSON Itâ€™s hard to count the green thumbs behind the growth of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) across Canada. Relatively new in the last five years, the movement has become popular with on-farm retailers expanding their u-pick operations. And in some cases, growers use their stalls at farmersâ€™ markets as pick-up locations. South of the border, Kate Zurschmeide and her family are celebrating their 20th anniversary with CSAs, growing the business from 50 to 1800 shares. Great Country Farms, Bluemont Virginia, is considered one of the largest CSAs in the U.S. Located about 30 minutes from Washington, D.C., it draws on a highly educated urban populace thatâ€™s looking for an interactive experience with food. â€œCSAs are a cornerstone of our farm,â€? Zurschmeide explained to the audience at the recent Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention. â€œWeâ€™ve had to be quite resourceful to meet the higher expectations of our customers as farmersâ€™ markets proliferate in the area. A CSA customer is a really educated customer that wants local food and a connection to the farmer.â€? Customization is the key to this customer base. Zurschmeide realizes that she has to compete with online grocery services. So if weather or pests affect the crop
Great Country Farms store
Kate and Mark Zurschmeide, Great Country Farms, Bluemont Virginia. one week, she needs to be nimble in substituting a product. The value proposition is to provide fresh produce for 20 weeks from first of June to end of October. The 2013 prices are $438 for one share, picked up at the farm. Thatâ€™s about a halfbushel that contains seven to eight items per week. With the
share paid at the front-end of the season, the family has cash flow to plan and ensure volume and variety. They have learned to conduct their annual survey during the last two weeks of the CSA season, while produce is still top-of-mind for their customers. The results offer trends for what to plant the following year. The
experts Top -notch seeds
A team of
------------------------North & South shores of Montreal Michel Gratton Tel.: 450.781.6045 Fax : 450.682.4959 Gilliane Bisson Tel. : 450.781.6049 Fax : 450.682.4959 ------------------------Central, Eastern Quebec & Atlantic Provinces Yves Thibault, agr. Tel. : 418.660.1498 Fax : 418.666.8947 ------------------------Ontario Warren Peacock Tel. : 519.426.1131 Fax : 519.426.6156
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new offer to the CSA customer base is made in early January. About one-third of the CSA customers pick up their baskets at the farm with the remainder picking up at a group site ($489 per share) or receiving home delivery ($589 per share). Every time CSA customers come to the farm, they have the option for U-pick â€“ an appealing option for those with families. The farm comprises tree fruits, strawberries, blueberries and a wide variety of vegetables. In many ways, the CSA program must carry all the seasonal items that would be found in a local grocer, except that the produce is fresher. One of the key learnings is that heirloom tomatoes, while
To sustain our CSA business, weâ€™re reaching beyond the farmgate to new communities â€“ health and fitness community, medical community and culinary community.â€? ~ Kate Zurschmeide
popular, donâ€™t travel so well in a CSA box. The Zurschmeideâ€™s work closely with companies such as Rupp Seeds for squash and pumpkins, Johnny Seeds for lettuces, and other organic seed companies for varieties that excel in flavour. They are currently looking to expand varieties in eggplant that will appeal to wider ethnic communities. â€œLetâ€™s shake up the box with these newer Asian varieties and partner with local chefs on how to cook with them,â€? advises Zurschmeide. â€œWe also use our blog to talk about these new varieties and partnerships.â€? The link with local chefs is proving an important channel to
expand the CSA business. In convincing local restaurants to source Great Country produce, they also may feature the farm name on their menus â€“ a way to promote more business. â€œTo sustain our CSA business, weâ€™re reaching beyond the farmgate to new communities â€“ health and fitness community, medical community and culinary community,â€? says Zurschmeide. One of the big trends is that consumers are more interested in local foods and how their food is grown. â€œWith the spiraling cost of health care and obesity, we see an opportunity to teach kids through cooking classes on the farm or canning classes for parents. These are skills that have been lost over the years.â€? Agritainment on the farm is an important aspect. The farmâ€™s website (www.greatcountryfarms.com) has an enticing schedule starting with the season home opener on March 23. Itâ€™s the Marshmallow Harvest, an innovative twist on the Easter Egg hunt and a sure winner when a bonfire is offered to toast the harvest. Sâ€™more kits are offered for a reasonable fee. Next is Art and Asparagus for Motherâ€™s Day, again with ingenious asparagus bouquets. Motherâ€™s Day is celebrated with a Strawberry Jubilee followed by a Fatherâ€™s Day Fish and Putt Putt. Not to be missed is the BBQ and Blackberry Bonanza at the end of July. â€œThe sweet spot is families,â€? explains Zurschmeide. â€œWhen I see the mini-vans in the parking lot, I know weâ€™ve attracted the right demographic.â€? Dirt or no dirt? Thatâ€™s the question with CSA produce boxes. Zurschmeide says they wash potatoes, but just shake the dirt off radishes. The best education is that produce comes with dirt, and yes sometimes with blemishes. â€œThis is how food should be,â€? says Zurschmeide, â€œwhen itâ€™s taken right from the soil.â€?
MARCH 2013 –– PAGE B5 THE GROWER
ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONVENTION
Making the local food connection For more than 35 years, Foodland Ontario has been the brand name for Ontario food, scoring very high awareness levels with consumers. Growers can take advantage of that branding through tools and marketing programs of Foodland Ontario. Program manager Denise Zaborowski opened up her toolbox at the recent Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention. Foodland Ontario continues to branch out into non-traditional methods of marketing to create awareness and engage consumers. The Foodland Ontario website – “Friend in Your Kitchen” – receives on average more than 1,700 visitors each day. Finding recipes is the number one reason why consumers visit the website. “We shape the way consumers think about local food using
social media,” says Zaborowski. The Foodland Ontario Facebook page has more than 109,000 fans; 15,000 people follow on Twitter; and the newest member to the Foodland Ontario program – Pinterest – has already more than 300 followers since its launchl October 4, 2012. New point-ofsale materials including commodity cards will be rolling out this spring/summer. They will have QR codes to direct consumers back to delicious Foodland Ontario recipes and will highlight digital media assets. Responding to consumers’ demand for recipes, Foodland Ontario continues to develop recipe brochures that are distributed in stores, farmers’ markets and on-farm markets. Last year’s spring and summer brochures were a huge success
with more than 350,000 distributed across Ontario. For 2013, spring, summer and fall brochures are in development. Foodland Ontario also makes a Foodland Ontario banner available to farmers’ markets and on-farm markets. This colourful two-by-six foot banner can help draw consumers to roadside stands. The banner can be ordered online from www.foodlandontario.ca or the order form can be downloaded and faxed or mailed. As one of the biggest challenges facing consumers today is being able to identify local at point of purchase, Zaborowski encourages Ontario producers and processors to use the Foodland Ontario logo. Nine out of every ten shoppers recognize the logo as Ontario fresh
food. If you are not using the logo to identify locally grown and processed food, get started today. Contact Foodland Ontario’s
Client Services Officer to learn more. Sandra.firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-466-2372 ext. 63947
PAGE B6 –– MARCH 2013 THE GROWER
ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONVENTION
Pruning learnings A California researcher shares best management tips As California is the biggest producer of U.S. peaches – almost three-quarters of production – it’s the go-to centre for learning about pruning. Although bearing acreage has declined to about 118,000 acres, production is up by five per cent. And that’s reason enough to hear about Kevin Day’s experiences at the University of California, Davis. “In order to optimize pruning, we have conducted many research projects over the past 30 years and have come to two main conclusions,” says Day. “First, trees should be minimally pruned in the first couple of years,” says Day. “Many growers prune young trees very hard, which only reduces early yield. We have found greatly increased yields,
with no detrimental effects, by minimal pruning.” “Second, we have extensively evaluated the concept of reducing tree height. This greatly cuts down on labour costs, often improves fruit quality and can maintain high yields if the trees are managed properly.” The devil is in the details and according to Day, proper management means intercepting as much light as possible by spreading scaffolds more and/or planting trees closer together. It also includes careful management of vigour through irrigation, fertilization and pruning practices. These techniques work best when applied to orchards from planting but can also apply to mature trees.
Hard pruning of 1-year-old (foreground) and 2-year-old (middle) peach trees with mature trees blooming in the background.
Hort funding announced at OFVC Ontario’s fruit and vegetable growers will benefit from new technology and marketing strategies. Member of Parliament (St. Catharines) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, Rick Dykstra, made the announcement on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Niagara Falls. “Our government’s top priority remains jobs and economic growth, and helping farmers improve their productivity and competitiveness plays an important role in keeping the economy strong,” MP Dykstra said. “Our government is committed to helping Ontario’s horticulturalists remain competitive in global markets and continue to improve their yields.” Three horticultural organizations are receiving $579,000 under the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) to tackle issues that have been identified by growers as obstacles to reaching higher levels of productivity. The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association will be able to grow new species of tomato and pepper that are of economic importance to Ontario using genomics technology, thanks to an investment of $308,000. “Developing new crop varieties to meet evolving consumer demands will help Ontario's fruit and vegetable farmers remain competitive,” says Ray Duc, Chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association. "This
From left to right: Steve Watt, Communications Manager, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention; Ray Duc, Chair, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association; Rick Dykstra, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines and Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Immigration; Charles Stevens, Vice Chair, Ontario Apple Growers; John Kikkert, Chair, Agricultural Adaptation Council
crop genetic technology will help position our industry to adapt more quickly to changes in the marketplace and contribute to the long term sustainability of our sector."
The Ontario Apple Growers is receiving an investment of $137,000 for a study to better understand evolving consumer preferences, in order to better market their produce. “With this investment, Ontario
Apple Growers will lead a strategy to introduce signature Ontario apples to the marketplace. We see this as an important step to expand provincial acreage, diversify production and improve our reaction time in meeting the demand for delicious, locally-grown varieties,” said Brian Gilroy, Chair, Ontario Apple Growers. An investment of $133,000 for Seeds of Diversity Canada will help producers control seed-borne disease on tomato farms through ultra-violet radiation, replacing treatments which have been found to be either too expensive or result in enormous losses of seed. “This investment will help create a new option for seed producers and purchasers to prevent transmission of seedborne plant diseases, using readily accessible technology that is inexpensive, safe, easy to use, and chemical-free. We are developing a UV disinfection method specifically to address seed-borne diseases of tomato seeds, but we are confident that the technique will apply to many other crop types,” said Bob Wildfong, Executive Director, Seeds of Diversity. These investments are provided through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), a five-year (2009-2014), $163-million initiative that helps the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. In Ontario, the regional component of this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council. Source: AAFC new release
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MARCH 2013 –– PAGE B7 THE GROWER
PAGE B8 –– MARCH 2013 THE GROWER
ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONVENTION
Controlled atmosphere storage for ‘Honeycrisp’ apples? JENNIFER DEELL The ‘Honeycrisp’ apple continues to increase in popularity and production due to its outstanding flavour and uniqueness in remaining firm during storage. However, flavour is not always consistent and there is risk of developing several physiological disorders. The objective of a recent study was to investigate the effects of controlled atmosphere (CA) storage and SmartFresh (1-MCP, 1 ppm) on the physical and sensory quality of ‘Honeycrisp’ apples during storage. Fruit were harvested from commercial orchards in multiple years, treated with or without
SmartFresh for 24 hours at 810oC, and stored at 3oC in air or varying CA regimes (2.5-3.0% O2 + 1.5-2.0% CO2) for four to eight months. Physical and sensory attributes were evaluated during subsequent holding at room temperature (18-22oC) within one week. Drs. Isabelle Lesschaeve and Amy Bowen, at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, were responsible for the sensory analyses. ‘Honeycrisp’ treated with 1MCP had less peel greasiness and internal ethylene concentration, and generally higher soluble solids and malic acid content, compared to those without 1MCP. Peel greasiness was also reduced by CA storage. Soft scald incidence was higher in air
storage than in CA, while the effects of 1-MCP on soft scald were inconsistent. Internal CO2 injury was aggravated by 1-MCP and/or CA, bitter pit was exacerbated by 1-MCP, and senescent browning was reduced by 1-MCP in CA storage. Sensory evaluations revealed that ‘Honeycrisp’ treated with 1-MCP had lower perceived intensities of “oxidized red apple” and “earthy” flavours, less perceived “skin thickness” and “chewy” textures, and higher “lemony,”
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“fresh green apple” and “acid” ratings, compared to those with no 1-MCP. Fruit not treated with 1MCP and stored in air had higher perceived “oxidized red apple” and “earthy” flavours, and less perceived intensity of “acid” taste than those held in CA. Another study looking at “CA Storage of ‘Honeycrisp’ Apples” was published recently in HortScience (47:886-892, 2012) by Dr. C.B. Watkins and J.F. Nock. The abstract of that study follows: << ‘Honeycrisp’ is an apple that can be stored in air for several months, but the flavour becomes bland with prolonged storage. Controlled-atmosphere (CA) storage recommendations have not been made in some growing regions, however, because of the susceptibility of fruit to physiological disorders. In the first year of this study, fruit from six orchards were stored in O2 concentrations of 1.5, 3.0 and 4.5% with 1.5 and 3.0% CO2. In the second year, fruit from three orchards were stored in three storage regimes (2.0 + 2.0, 3.0 + 1.5, and 3.0 + 0.5% of O2 +CO2, respectively) with and without SmartFresh (1-MCP) treatment at the beginning or end of the preconditioning regime (10oC for 7 days) that is commercially used for ‘Honeycrisp’. CA storage had little effect on flesh firmness, soluble solids concentration (SSC), and titratable acidity (TA) over the range of O2 and CO2 tested. Greasiness was generally lower in fruit stored in lower O2 and higher CO2. Susceptibility of fruit to core browning and senescent breakdown varied between years, but a high incidence of internal injury in fruit from some orchards occurred in both years. 1-MCP treatment decreased internal ethylene concentration and sometimes maintained TA but had little effect on firmness and SSC. Senescent breakdown and core browning incidence were reduced by 1-MCP treatment where orchard susceptibility to these disorders was high. However, 1-MCP treatment sometimes increased internal CO2 injury, especially if treatment occurred at the beginning of the conditioning period. The susceptibility of ‘Honeycrisp’ to physiological disorders, and specifically internal CO2 injury, is a major limitation to the application of CA storage for this cultivar. It is likely that CO2 injury will be manageable by methods such as delaying the application of CA storage regimes and/or using diphenylamine (DPA). However, CA storage cannot be recommended for storage of New Yorkgrown ‘Honeycrisp’ apples until management of CO2 injury can be assured.>> Jennifer DeEll is OMAFRA’s Fresh Market Quality Lead, based in Simcoe, Ontario.
MARCH 2013 –– PAGE B9 THE GROWER
ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONVENTION
On-the-go consumers can tap Ontario wineries with mobile app KAREN DAVIDSON Just in time for the spring season, Grape Growers of Ontario (GGO) is launching a mobile app called wineONtour. It was unveiled at the recent Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Niagara Falls. “It’s a way to bring a map to life for those who want to experience Ontario wines from different perspectives,” explains Debbie Zimmerman, CEO, GGO. “Consumers can choose to identify wineries which produce Baco Noir or Pinot Gris, for example, and set up their wine trail by varietal of choice.”
Debbie Zimmerman: with WineONtour, consumers can identify wineries by varietal of choice
This mobile app is a great way to find those hidden gems.” ~ Nick Hubbard
Another way to access Ontario wine country is through its various sub-appellations. Perhaps a consumer wants to see wineries belonging to the Beamsville Bench, Prince Edward County or the newly named Essex Pelee Island Coast (EPIC). This mobile app can select wineries that fit that descriptor, with GPS coordinates of how to find specific wineries. The association stewards a database with all grape growers, so it’s uniquely qualified to be inclusive of all Ontario growers and wineries. The bonus is that there’s no cost for Ontario wineries to be listed. Besides being a new tool that can support social media outreach, wineONtour can help tell the stories of individual growers. Zimmerman says that their marketing approach is to keep connecting consumers with the faces that grow grapes and produce wine. As Nick Hubbard, GGO systems strategist explains, version 3.0 will include deeper profiles. WineONtour works similar to a Google search on a touch screen. The user can click on the category of choice and then proceed refining the search with dropdown boxes. The mobile app will customize a wine route, with GPS directions from your home, based on your selections. There’s even a connection to make comments on GGO’s Facebook page. “This mobile app is a great way to find those hidden gems,” says Hubbard. “We’re hoping this will be a learning aid to appreciate the nuances of our various wines.”
Growers have some unusual traditions — things they do every year to ensure a successful growing season. From the hula girl one grower pulls out at planting, to the barn dance another grower throws after every harvest, you go with what works. Just like the products that come through for you year after year, why mess with a good thing?
Thanks for putting your trust in our products. For more information, visit www.gowithwhatworks.ca or call 1-866-761-9397 toll free. Always read and follow label directions. ELEVATE, the ELEVATE logo, MAESTRO, the MAESTRO logo, KANEMITE and the KANEMITE logo are registered trademarks of Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC. “Go with what works” is a trademark of Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC. Arysta LifeScience and the Arysta LifeScience logo are registered trademarks of Arysta LifeScience Corporation. ORTHENE is a registered trademark of OMS Investments, Inc., exclusively licensed to Arysta LifeScience Corporation in numerous countries. ©2012 Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC. ORT-048
PAGE B10 –– MARCH 2013 THE GROWER
ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONVENTION
Safety rules the road CHAD KING, ONTARIO MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION As I write this article I am preparing my presentation for the 2013 Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Niagara Falls. My challenge is what to convey to you, the reader, after the convention has already come and gone. My presentation for the convention was titled “Farm Equipment on the Roadway”, so I will try to pull out some key information from that. Before we move forward, it is important to highlight the responsibilities that I have and the responsibilities that you have within the farming industry in Ontario as it relates to rules of the road. One of the key roles that I am responsible for is the enforcement of various Acts and Regulations that apply to each of us in Ontario when it comes to vehicles on the roadway. From this, there are two main components: 1) Active enforcement which involves a variety of actions used to achieve compliance such as laying charges, plate removal, immediate defect repairs, etc., and 2) Passive enforcement which includes things such as providing educational information related to the issue at hand, warnings for violations or mechanical issues, etc. Each officer is responsible for how they handle each scenario and may not always be identical across the board. This would be known as officer discretion. The other side of this falls under the responsibility of the motoring public. In your case it will likely have something to do with farming and farm vehicles. Quite simply, your responsibility is to ensure that the rules are being followed by either yourself, or any staff you might have working for you. There is a lot of information that you need to know, however the information is relatively easy to find if you know where to look. The internet is an excellent tool for finding information and, in today’s age, most of us have access to the internet on a regular basis. The
Ministry of Transportation website has pretty much everything you need in order to be in compliance. There is also an excellent tool available on the Ministry of Transportation website known as the “Farm Guide.” Much of this article has been gleaned from the Farm Guide. All of this information can be found at www.mto.gov.on.ca. Contacting your local Truck Inspection Station (TIS) or stopping by for a visit is another excellent way to obtain the information you need. Most officers located at a TIS are more than willing to answer your questions. Interacting with an MTO Officer on your own terms, rather than us stopping you and laying charges or putting you out of service, is always the best way to go! Let’s move on to some of the key points from the presentation! As mentioned, I am not able to go through the entire presentation here, however spring is on the way and summer just after that so there will be a significant increase in farm vehicle traffic on Ontario roads. It made sense to me to briefly cover some topics that seem appropriate at this time. The topics I will cover include: • Where to Drive On the Road • Reduced Weight On Roads and Bridges • Slow-moving Vehicle Signs • Turn Signal Requirements • Driver Qualifications • Overhanging Loads
Wide equipment generally requires the use of the travelled portion of the roadway and the shoulder. In this case, a driver should travel primarily on the travelled portion with the remainder on the shoulder. Straddling the travelled portion and shoulder causes a serious risk to both the farm vehicle driver and any other vehicle that needs to pass going in the same direction. As a minimum, all farm equipment must give up half the road when being passed by opposing traffic or being overtaken. Reduced Weight On Roads and Bridges Farm vehicles are not subject to weight reductions on load restricted bridges or roads or during reduced load periods. Owners and vehicle operators however, may be liable for any incident or damage caused when using weight exemption.
Where to Drive On the Road With the amount of traffic on the roadway today, it is very important that everyone understands what their responsibilities are. If we all follow the rules it will allow for consistency across the province and will reduce the number of incidents involving motorists and farm vehicles. Narrow/Wide Farm Equipment Narrow farm equipment should be driven completely on the travelled portion of the roadway or the shoulder. If you’re not sure, drive on the travelled portion completely.
Slow-moving Vehicle Signs Slow-moving vehicle signs warn other road users that the vehicle displaying the sign is travelling 40km/h or less. The sign must be located at the rear of the vehicle or combination of vehicles between .6m and 2m above the road. It must be clearly visible at a distance of no less than 150m. A slow-moving vehicle sign is not permitted to be displayed on any vehicle or combination of vehicles travelling in excess of
40km/h. Attaching a slow-moving vehicle sign to a fixed object, such as a mailbox or driveway marker, is also not permitted. Crossing the road from one farm to another does not require the use of a slow-moving vehicle sign. Turn Signal Requirements Before turning left or right at any intersection or into a private road or driveway, moving from one lane of traffic to another lane of traffic or leaving or entering
the travelled portion of the road a driver must ensure that the movement can be made safely, and give a signal plainly visible to the driver of any other vehicle affected by their movement or intention to make the movement. A signal plainly visible to others can be given either by signal lamps or using proper hand/arm signals. Driver Qualifications A driver’s licence is not required to drive a tractor or self-propelled implement of husbandry (SPIH) on, along or across a road however the driver must be 16 or older to drive on, or along a road. Drivers under 16 are permitted to drive a tractor or SPIH directly across the road. Overhanging Loads Every vehicle, including farm equipment, carrying a load that overhangs the rear of the vehicle 1.5m or more must display a red flag or red marker at the extreme rear of the load. A slow-moving vehicle sign satisfies the requirement of a red flag or marker on farm equipment. A red lamp must be used at the rear of the load during night time.
MARCH 2013 –– PAGE B11 THE GROWER
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PAGE B12 –– MARCH 2013 THE GROWER
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MARCH 2013 –– PAGE B13 THE GROWER
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L.M.Bolle & Sons 813083 Baseline Norwich, ON (519) 468-2090 Fax 468-2099 email: email@example.com
PAGE B14 –– MARCH 2012 THE GROWER
To advertise phone: 519-380-0118 • 866-898-8488 x 218 • Fax: 519-380-0011 NURSERY AND ROOTSTOCK
SPECIALIZING IN FRUIT TREES & GRAPE VINES & ELDERBERRIES. VARIETY AND PRICE LIST AVAILABLE ON REQUEST Howard A. Colcuc Nursery Manager R.R. #4 Creek Road Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. L0S 1J0 Tel: (905) 262-4971 Fax: (905) 262-4404 firstname.lastname@example.org
ASPARAGUS ROOTS Jersey Giant
Wrightland Farm RR 1 • 1000 Ridge Rd. Harrow, ON N0R 1G0 Keith: 519-738-6120 Fax: 519-738-3358
ASPARAGUS CROWNS Available for Spring 2013 Millennium Mary Washington Sweet Purple Sandy Shore Farms Ltd. (519) 875-3382 www.sandyshorefarms.ca
• Certified Strawberry Plants & Raspberry Canes • All popular varieties available • Grown under the Nova Scotia Certification program. Plants shipped across North America. Contact us for a FREE brochure! 982 North Bishop Road, Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada B4N 3V7 Ph: (902) 678-4497 Fax: (902) 678-0067 Email: email@example.com
STRAWBERRY PLANTS ***CERTIFIED*** RASPBERRY CANES Producers of Quality stock for 46 years. Grown under the Nova Scotia Certification Program. Shipping across North America. Contact us for more information and a free brochure
G.W. ALLEN NURSERY LTD. 7295 Hwy 221 Centreville, N.S. B0P 1J0 ph. 902-678-7519 fax: 902-678-5924
Exclusive grower of select grafted nut trees and minor fruits. Cultivars are tested in our own experimental orchards. Choose from Persian and black walnut, heartnut, butternut, chestnut, hazel, pecan, hickory, gingko, pine nut, mulberry, persimmon, pawpaw, fig & more. Proprietor Ernie Grimo 979 Lakeshore Rd, RR 3, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON Canada L0S 1J0 Tel.: (905) YEH-NUTS (934-6887) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (905) YEL-NUTS (935-6887) Catalogue Site: www.grimonut.com
MARCH 2013 –– PAGE B15 THE GROWER
To advertise phone: 519-380-0118 • 866-898-8488 x 218 • Fax: 519-380-0011 NURSERY AND ROOTSTOCK TOP QUALITY VEGETABLE, HERB AND STRAWBERRY PLUG TRANSPLANTS CERTIFIED ORGANIC AND CONVENTIONAL PLANTS AVAILABLE
Strawber Str Stra r awber wber r y & R aspber r y Raspber Plants Pl l ants
Tomatoes, Peppers, Brassica/Cole crops, Cucurbit/Vine crops, Lettuces, onions & leek
THE ONLY LICENSED COMMERCIAL PROPAGATOR IN ONTARIO SELLING STRAWBERRY PLUG TRANSPLANTS ***Bank on the benefits of using top quality ACTIVELY growing berry plants***
CONTACT US NOW TO RESERVE SPACE FOR YOUR 2013 CROP NEEDS
CARTHER PLANTS “MAXIMIZING YOUR PROFIT POTENTIAL” 30627 Jane Rd., RR5 Thamesville, ON N0P 2K0 Office 519.695.5445 Cell 519.359.2130 Fax 519. 695.5452 email@example.com Licensed by the University of California. Not recognized under the guidelines of the Ontario Plant Propagation program due to origin of stock.
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE - Farm Equipment - Holland Marsh - Irrigation Pumps plus 3", 4", 5" Wade pipes and fittings - 2 x 165 Massey tractors - 8 x Horst 8 ton wagons w/ 16' platforms - 3 x Horst 10 ton wagons w/ 20' platforms - FMC sprayer w/60 gal per min pump, 500 gal. ss tank, Raven controlled, 62' boom - FMC sprayer w/60 gal per min pump, 500 gal. ss tank, electronic control, 72' boom - Allis Chalmer 500 forklift w/ 21' mast, excellent condition - various other equipment for vegetable farming Contact - JOHN - 905-955-5811 FOR SALE – Farm Equipment: -RJ Transplanter, with 1000 gal tank, set-up for any spacing for up-to 9 units (included) -Ramsay Vegetable Harvest Aid, can be used for various crops, was used for broccoli, 11 bunching machines included. -Kneverland airseeder, with 9 twin row units, very good condition, plates and spare parts included. -Pik Rite 190 Tomato Harvester, fully loaded, well maintained, high capacity machine -4450 John Deere, P.S., MFWD, very clean, great condition Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (519) 809-0615
Oriental Vegetable Seeds
Korea Green - F1
For Sale: TurboMist sprayer, 400 gal, Turbo steer, excellent condition. IH140 tractor w/ cultivator and side dresser. Both always stored inside. 905-7652027
CLASSIFIED ADS. 866-898-8488 x 221
AgroHaitai Ltd. Ph: 519-647-2280 • Fax: 519-647-3188 email@example.com• www.AgroHaitai.com
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