While most reports on Ontario vegetable shipments seem to focus on greenhouse-grown products, Canadian government statistics show the province has plenty of field-grown produce.
There were double digit increases in 2017 over 2016 with Ontario-grown beets, Brussels sprouts, green onions, radishes, parsnips and celery.
Additionally, Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food Rural Affairs reported double digit acreage declines for carrots, cauliflower, sweet corn, field-grown tomatoes, squash and zucchini, field-grown cucumbers, pumpkins and squash, bell peppers, and lettuce.
The Holland Marsh muck region, located about 30 miles north of Toronto, grows about 75 percent of vegetables produced in Ontario and 65 percent of vegetables grown in Canada.
The region produces nearly four pounds of carrots for every Canadian per year.
Shipments begin in May with lettuce, and carrots follow in June and while vegetables will continue through November. Root vegetables from the region are marketed year-round.
Located on about 7,000 acres, the muck soil of the region grows 66 commodities and is the second largest carrot producing region in North America region. Onions, celery, herbs, lettuce, cauliflower and cabbage also are among the top crops. In addition to the muck soil, there are about 6,000 vegetable acres in the surrounding highlands.
The region has about 126 growers and 10 packing facilities.
The region was settled by the Dutch and still includes many family businesses and small companies. Asian vegetables have found traction in recent years.
The government reported the top acreage crop for Ontario vegetables in 2017 was sweet corn, with 19,003 acres reported. That was down 15 percent from 2016 acreage and off 18 percent from 2015, according to government statistics.
Ranking second among commercial vegetables for Ontario in 2017 was green peas, with 14,450 acres harvested, 7 percent lower than last year and 13 percent less than 2015.
Ranking first in sales among field-grown crops, field-grown tomatoes were No. 3 in acreage among Ontario vegetable crops in 2017.
Tomato acreage last year was 13,408 acres, down 13 percent from 2016 and off 2 percent from 2015.
THIS PAST WEEK A FEW CALIFORNIA PRODUCE LOADS TO THE EAST COAST WERE GROSSING $10,000 AND MORE!
Examples: Desert vegetables to Baltimore – $9700 – $10,000; Kern District and Ventura County vegetables to Boston – $9400 – $10000; Salinas Valley vegetables to Boston – $9700 to $10200; and Santa Maria vegetables to Philadelphia – $9200 to $10000.