The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC)’s Board of Directors recently hosted their annual summer tour, this year visiting the Toronto and Niagara region of Ontario. The tour group was a cross section of industry and representatives from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Pest Management Centre, CropLife Canada, Farm Credit Canada, the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation, OFVGA, OGVG, The Grower, Flowers Canada, Vineland Research, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation of Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers, University of Guelph and Holland Marsh Growers.
The first stop on this early bird tour was the Ontario Food Terminal http://www.oftb.com/ It is Canada’s largest wholesale fruit and produce terminal and ranks amongst the top four terminal markets in Canada and the United States by volume of produce distributed. The group was fortunate to have staff guides showing the various areas of the sales floor and guided them through what a day might look like for the buyers and sellers at the terminal. Plenty of fruit and vegetable knowledge, family tradition and hard work are visible every step of the way.
The group then travelled tothe Ippolito packing facility in Burlington http://ippolitoproduce.com/ where they house a one of a kind packaging line that packages commodities such as baby spinach, curly spinach and spring mix. Ippolito also provides grower shippers with liquid icing for broccoli and other such commodities. The Ippolito Group is and always has been a family-run business paying special attention to detail, and holding product quality in the most utmost regard. The group was able to follow fresh baby spinach from delivery to shipping in this state of the art operation.
The Tour luncheon was hosted by The George Family Vineyards at their farm located on the shores of Lake Ontario, in Beamsville. The Grape Growers of Ontario sponsored the luncheon and local wine tasting after Bill George provided the group with a tour of his vines and equipment used for harvesting and maintaining the crop.
The farm had been a producer of pears, apples, plums, peaches, and apricots and then was eventually fully converted to wine grapes production. All grapes are currently sold to Arterra wines.
The afternoon began with a visit and wagon tour of the Devries fruit orchards in Fenwick. http://www.devriesfruitfarm.com/. The farm crops include high yield apples, plums and peaches. Fresh picked strawberries and ice cream were served up to the group before a visit to the retail store for a selection of fresh produce, jams jellies and baked goods. The DeVries Fruit Farm has been owned and operated by the DeVries family since 1984.
It was then off to the Gambrel Barn at the Country Heritage Center in Milton www.countryheritagepark.com for networking and dinner. Thanks to the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association for sponsorship of the dinner event. After a networking opportunity amongst the guests, researchers from the University of Guelph provided updates on some of the CHC Cluster projects.
CHC would like to thank Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers for their bus sponsorship and all the attendees and tour stops for making the day such a success.
The CHC Board Summer Tour is an excellent opportunity for growers, industry representatives, politicians and government regulators to become better acquainted with one another and to talk about issues impacting Canadian fruit and vegetable production in a casual and engaging environment. We look forward to welcoming participants again next year when the tour moves to the Prairies.
Thank you to the following sponsors for their generosity and support: