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The Grower Calling
17 minutes | Aug 26, 2022
Chris Veillon leads branding strategy for greenhouse produce
The journey from commodities to brands is traced by the chief marketing officer, a 15-year veteran of the greenhouse industry. The branding of greenhouse vegetables has reached such sophistication that a kitchen was built inside the new marketing quarters of the Leamington, Ontario operation. It serves as the hub for creating recipes and content for an omni-channel universe. The Grower is 'Digging Deeper' into the September cover story and speaking with Chris Veillon about the strategy behind marketing Pure Flavor produce.
21 minutes | Jul 25, 2022
Vivid Machines comes alive for apple growers
Jenny Lemieux, co-founder and CEO of this Toronto start-up, is conducting trials with nine apple growers to solve a common problem: crop load management. One of those growers, Kirk Kemp, Algoma Orchards, Newcastle, Ontario, is excited that computer vision technology can count blossoms and fruitlets with more accuracy than he can. The Grower is 'Digging Deeper' behind the August 2022 cover story and speaking with Jenny and Kirk. They describe how the ATV-mounted camera can scan the high-density rows and offer real-time numbers about quantity and quality of apples.
15 minutes | Jun 23, 2022
Davina Komienski charts progress with on-farm market
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well as growers become marketers who encourage consumers to “eat the seasons.” The Grower is Digging Deeper behind the July 2022 cover story and speaking with Davina Komienski, owner of Sam's Place Farm Market. Davina shares how fresh produce grown at Komienski Farms is supplemented with other fruits and vegetables and value-added products from Norfolk County, Ontario’s garden. Podcast sponsored by Cohort Wholesale.
10 minutes | May 24, 2022
Dino DiLaudo launches Apeel protected greenhouse cucumbers
Westmoreland Topline Farms is the first in Canada to launch greenhouse-grown, plastic-free English cucumbers in June 2022. The Grower speaks with Dino DiLaudo about the edible coating, developed by Apeel Sciences, made from the seeds and skins of other fruits and veggies. A major Canadian retailer is partnering on the initiative with consumer messaging about sustainability. Sponsored by UPL.
13 minutes | Apr 28, 2022
Stewart Lapage comments on climate change and carbon taxes
As growers, marketers and distributors of produce, the Oppenheimer Group knows the challenges first-hand. Stewart Lapage is steering through multiple crises as executive director of operations and logistics based in Calgary, Alberta. The Grower is Digging Deeper behind our May 2022 cover story and speaking with Stewart. We discuss how the pandemic, a flood in BC’s Fraser Valley, port congestion and now a war in Ukraine are piled on top of climate change and carbon taxes. He shares his perspective on the strains in the food chain.
14 minutes | Mar 28, 2022
Colin Chapdelaine shepherds growth of greenhouse strawberries
The drive for more homegrown produce is intensifying as global events shake up norms and supply chains. The Star Group’s foray into strawberries is one example of extending its greenhouse vegetable expertise at BC Hothouse. Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower, is Digging Deeper into April 2022 cover story and speaking with Colin Chapdelaine.
15 minutes | Feb 28, 2022
Ryan Brewster tracks changes to softer chemistries
As a grape and tree fruit crop consultant in the Niagara peninsula, Ryan Brewster is counselling his clients how to move away from some pesticides that are harsh on beneficial insects. One cultural method is to spray summer oils. Another is to plant late-flowering-cover crops between the rows to attract beneficial insects that eat bad bugs. Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower is "Digging Deeper' in to the March 2020 cover story and speaking with Ryan. His counsel includes how to integrate these methods for both insects and disease.
16 minutes | Jan 24, 2022
Chuck Baresich looks to the future of robotic weeders
Enthusiasts of precision agriculture are now looking to robots to alleviate labour shortages. Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower, is 'Digging Deeper' in the February 2022 cover story and speaking with Chuck Baresich, general manager of Haggerty Creek Inc. Chuck is demonstrating robotic weeders for various crops in different soil types to see how they perform in Ontario. It’s the first step in finetuning the practical aspects.
11 minutes | Dec 31, 2021
John Visser offers context to the potato wart findings in PEI
The chair of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board is confident in the 20-year long-term management plan for potato wart, a fungal disease that’s been rarely seen by lifetime growers. He’s seeking answers from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on why the border is closed to PEI exports of seed and fresh potatoes to the United States. And why the agency suggests it might take a year to process the soil tests to satisfy requirements of the USDA. The Grower is Digging Deeper in to the January cover story and speaking with John Visser. This podcast has been sponsored by Cohort Wholesale.
13 minutes | Nov 22, 2021
Kyle Oakley explains his tunnel vision
Apple grower Kyle Oakley and his family have transitioned to market gardeners in the last decade with the help of high tunnels. With the purchase of Goldsmith’s Farm Market & Bakery in Thornbury, Ontario, they are confident enough to expand with two greenhouses to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and flowers. It’s an example of the trend to more protected and controlled environments.
14 minutes | Oct 22, 2021
Kevin MacIsaac surveys the Canadian potato sector
The pandemic has disrupted the supply chain in potatoes with some sectors experiencing a boom, and others suffering from a dip in demand. Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower, goes 'Behind the Scenes' of the November 2021 cover story and speaks with Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada. They discuss how the entire North American trade is adjusting to tectonic shifts in consumer demand, shifts in climate and shifts in seed sources. Surprisingly, some growers are responding by building more capacity.
13 minutes | Aug 30, 2021
Evan Fraser shares insight on food sovereignty
Two Ontario vegetable growers share different perspectives – one is contracting celery to an American food processor, another is worried about decreased plantings of field vegetables in his area. Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower, goes 'Behind the Scenes' of the September cover story and speaks with Dr. Evan Fraser, director of the University of Guelph’s Arrell Food Institute. Fraser comments on the competitive pressures within today’s food system. And shares his perspective on what’s needed for the next generation of farmers.
13 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
Amanda Dooney shares her resilience tips as farm manager
Amanda Dooney and her husband Hayden have bought a total of 80 acres of high-density apple orchards near Simcoe, Ontario since 2019. The arrival of the pandemic challenged strategic plans for Suncrest Orchards. Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower, goes 'Behind the Scenes' of the August cover story and speaks with Amanda about how stable accommodations and accommodating change have kept temporary foreign workers happy and safe.
18 minutes | Jun 21, 2021
Dusty Zamecnik talks about the Ontario berry revolution
Strawberry propagator Dusty Zamecnik has tripled the size of his greenhouse in order to supply the growing demand for starter plants in the greenhouse sector. What used to be just 50 acres is now 120 acres of Ontario greenhouse-grown strawberries for year-round consumption. Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower, goes 'Behind the Scenes' of the July 2021 cover story titled 'Riding the berry revolution' and speaks with Dusty. They discuss the new technologies that are driving the expansion, including global genetics for best flavour.
12 minutes | May 17, 2021
Bill Moons shares updates to the Bayer potato portfolio
Potato growers welcome new products and label extensions that offer options for chemistry rotations. Bayer is launching Vayego insecticide. And Luna Tranquility fungicide, a mainstay of Bayer’s portfolio, offers protection against several leaf diseases that are associated with early dying complex. In this podcast Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower, speaks with Bill Moons, market development agronomist, Bayer CropScience, about their potato portfolio.
19 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
Al Mussell offers perspective on the U.S. review of secure supply chains
Trade protectionism is not going away. The U.S. government is reviewing the security and strength of its supply chains, spurred by the global pandemic, climate change and geopolitical shifts. Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower, goes 'Behind the Scenes' of the May 2021 cover story and speaks with Al Mussell, research lead, Agri-Food Economic Systems. Podcast sponsored by BASF
14 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
Phil Tregunno navigates new ground for vaccinating seasonal workers
The chair of the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers overcame initial resistance by his seasonal agricultural workers to get vaccinated. With a couple days to ruminate over printed flyers and face-to-face meetings, all of his 71-member crew from Niagara-on-the-Lake consented and were inoculated on March 22, 2021. Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower, goes 'Behind The Scenes' of the April 2021 cover story titled 'VEXED BY THE VAX: ROLLING OUT WORKER INOCULATIONS' and speaks with Phil Tregunno.
12 minutes | Feb 22, 2021
Charles Stevens identifies challenges for accessing crop protection products
The safety protocols around COVID-19 are restricting capacity at the Pest Management Centre to conduct toxicological trials needed to register crop protection products. A permanent funding structure would help meet future goals. Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower, goes 'Behind the Scenes' of the March cover story and speaks with Charles Stevens, chair, crop protection section, OFVGA.
13 minutes | Feb 8, 2021
Steve Funk explains MNPs Risk Management Projector
The arena of business risk management is complex with interconnected government, crop insurance and private insurance programs. Federal proposed changes for AgriStability, for example, are currently under review by the provinces. Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower, talks to Steve Funk, director of agriculture risk management resources for MNP, a leading national accounting agency, about how to approach this dynamic business environment.
12 minutes | Jan 25, 2021
Brian Gilroy explains the lobby to exempt carbon taxes on energy
Carbon taxes are going up. They are $50/tonne now but the federal government has announced incremental increases to reach $170/tonne by 2030. At the ground level, this policy will increase prices on fertilizer. Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower, goes 'Behind the Scenes' of The Grower's February 2021 cover story, and talks to Brian Gilroy, president of the Canadian Horticultural Council on lobby efforts to exempt Canadian agriculture from carbon taxes on all energy use.
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