September 2019 - 1
Michigan firm thrives in
soil health market
growers visit southwest
September 2019 | Volume 58 |
Ontario growers find their niche
Ontario, Canada grower Chris Hedges operates an expanding 250-acre orchard as part of an Ontario apple industry that produces an average of 277 million pounds per year. Photos: Gary Pullano
By Gary Pullano
Ontario's tree fruit growers know how to
take advantage of being located next to one
of the best marketplaces in North America.
Toronto is the largest city in Canada and
the fourth-largest city in North America. It
is Canada's economic and trading hub.
" Ontario's tree fruit production is spread
out across southern Ontario from east
to west, and north to south, " said Chris
Hedges, a grower and owner of Hedges
Apples. " We are fortunate in Ontario that
our growing regions are surrounded by
the Great Lakes, providing us with an ideal
climate for fruit production. "
Hedges is treasurer of the International
Fruit Tree Association (IFTA), which in
July hosted its Summer Study Tour in the
Norfolk and Georgian Bay areas, two of the
five main tree-fruit growing regions.
Hedges is a first-generation grower
with a banking background. In addition
to owning Ontario Orchard Supply, he
oversees an expanding 250-acre apple
orchard, with 75 acres newly planted and
not in full production. The operation
also has a new 10,000-bin controlled
atmosphere storage facility.
Starting on older rental orchard blocks
in the late 1990s, Hedges planted Gala,
Honeycrisp and through a downturn
continued to plant. Today, the acreage
consists primarily of Gala, Honeycrisp and
Ambrosia, as well as a few McIntosh, Red
Delicious, Fuji and Empire.
Hedges' 3-by-11-foot planting of
Honeycrisp on G.41 planted on tall spindle
in 2015 is managed without ethylene
bisdithiocarbamates (EBDCs), a class of
chemicals to which mancozeb belongs. He
See ONTARIO, page 5
Organic growth in the spotlight
By Gary Pullano
The organic industry is on an upward
path, a movement that was on full display at
the 2019 Organic Produce Summit.
The fourth annual event, held in July in
Monterey, California, attracted more than
1,600 attendees. The trade show floor had
148 exhibitors, and organizers said the
event brought in 260 retailers.
The pre-conference included field tours
of Ocean Mist Organic, Driscoll's, Taylor
Farms, Braga Fresh Family Farms, and
Tanimura & Antle facilities and operations.
Keynote presentations included author
and vice president of RePlant Capital,
Robyn O'Brien, and Dan Barber, chef and
author of a New York Times best-selling
book called " The Third Plate: Field Notes
on the Future of Food. " A retail roundtable
discussion and other educational workshops
also were part of the activities.
The event held in the Monterey
Conference Center will return to
Monterey next year, organizers said. An
Organic Grower Summit will be held this
December in the same location.
" We're just thrilled with the overall
response and feedback that we got from
retailers and the entire organic community, "
said Matt Seely, co-founder of event
organizer Organic Produce Network.
In its first four years of existence, the
Organic Produce Summit has doubled
its attendance and significantly increased
both its exhibit space and the number
of exhibitors. It also has upped its game
with retailer participation and continued
offering well-known speakers that bring a
connection to the organic produce world.
" The number of the retailers continues
to increase each year, but more than that it's
the quality and leadership abilities of those
retailers that make a difference, " Seely said.
" We strive to provide the best information
and education about the growing organic
produce category. And with our various
networking opportunities, retailers and
suppliers tell us we are hitting the mark as
an event where business gets done. "
See ORGANIC, page 7
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of September 2019
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