Nature Fresh Farms expands strawberry acreage
Nature Fresh Farms is moving forward in expanding its commodities into the berry category with more acreage dedicated to a strawberry program.
With help from its longstanding growing partner Cielo Vista, the greenhouse grower will be expanding its strawberry farm from one to 16 acres, planned to be completed this fall.
“Partnering with Cielo Vista for our strawberry program was an easy decision. We are very fortunate to have such a successful partnership with them,” said Niels Klapwijk, director of procurement. “We have been extremely happy with the quality and flavor we’ve been able to grow, which is why we are expanding the program.”
In addition to focusing on growing their core commodities of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, Nature Fresh Farms has partnered with Cielo Vista to gain expertise in growing berries to further its program while innovating the Canadian greenhouse sector and assisting in driving fresh consumption of Ontario-grown strawberries. Although there are some seasonal challenges with field supply, Nature Fresh Farms was amazed at the interest and demand it had once presenting greenhouse-grown samples to its partners.
“Our retail and foodservice partners have expressed challenges within the berry category. However, every challenge presents an opportunity for us and greenhouse supply,” said Matt Quiring, director of sales. “After two years of trial and development, we are thrilled to add strawberries to our list of commodities and presents us with more opportunities for new categories as shoppers demands continue to evolve.”
With strawberries being one of the top fruit imports in Canada, the expansion would help reduce food miles through increased local production, shortening transportation routes, and offering superior quality product. This is an opportunity to drive this rapidly expanding category by delivering consistently flavorful, high-quality berries to North American markets that were previously out of reach due to lengthy food mile barriers.
“Our objective is to enrich consumer lives by providing sustainably grown fresh local produce like our greenhouse-grown Strawberries,” said Vice President John Ketler. “With the success of this commodity, we see the potential progression of the strawberry program while opening new opportunities for future berry varietals.”
Nature Fresh Farms team continues to focus on research and development, discovering new products and opportunities that support its commitment to sustainability while delivering quality produce to customers throughout the year. The company's main objective of all its trial programs, including its strawberry program, is to learn how to grow more consistent and flavorful product.