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Ontario heat helps local broccoli

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2018-07-06  Views: 3
Core Tip: A heat wave over Ontario may push broccoli in the province to start production early.
A heat wave over Ontario may push broccoli in the province to start production early.

“The Ontario volume of broccoli has shot up a bit more compared to last year and it might be a bit earlier,” says Steven Karr of Pride Pak Canada Ltd. in Mississauga, Ont. “The growers are saying it’s looking good and we may even start a week earlier due to weather. They have to irrigate a lot more with this heat but everything’s coming up early, which is good.” Normally the Ontario season starts approximately two to three weeks from now.

Traditionally the Ontario season for broccoli can run as late as October. “It all depends on the weather. If it stays very warm, it’ll come up sooner and there comes a point where they’ll do a last plant but that last plant may be riskier,” says Karr. “They may plant and not harvest. But if the quality and shelf life aren’t there, we get out early.”

The weather effect
For now though, a slight cool down in Ontario is predicted to come this week and how long those cooler temperatures last affects how production moves. “If it gets really cool, the season will start with a big bang and then possibly create a gap because the produce may start flowering prematurely. If that happens, we may get a gap until we can get to the other fields,” says Karr.

At the same time, demand for Ontario produce has also seen a pick up in recent years—not only have ‘buy local’ trends helped fuel that growth, but younger shoppers and how they consume food have also affected things, be it opting for pre-cut vegetables over whole vegetables or shopping more times a week.

That said, with fuel, transportation and labor costs all going up, Karr notes that broccoli prices are likely to go up this year as well.

keywords: broccoli
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