Food & Drink

Inexpensive Canadian greenhouse tomato production

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  • Apr 23rd, 2020 6:10 pm
[OP]
Member
Nov 14, 2012
387 posts
245 upvotes

Inexpensive Canadian greenhouse tomato production

Recently I bought tomatoes in Food Basics, they were around dollar per pound and unusually tasty for price range. Almost on par with those cocktail packs that sell for $4/lb.

They had a label "Product of Canada". That means they must be greenhouse grown which is very impressive considering the cost of greenhouse growing. If FB is selling them for $1/lb that means the grower is getting $0.75/lb or less. Also tomatoes are little on the higher maintenance side to achieve good taste and yields.

Most people probably do not care, but I am extremely excited that someone has accomplished such tomato yields in Canadian conditions, that they are able to match consumer pricing of cheap tasteless imports and at least break even.

I am into inside growing (of anything), have worked for cannabis company and designed portions of automated distributed computer controlled hydroponic growing system for them. It was an amazing system, although pricey - some $250/sft in 5-digit sft facility. Since then I have designed and built much cheaper systems mainly for nursing and growing tomatoes, not as nearly as sophisticated as that cannabis system though. Until now I did not think it was possible to grow tomatoes and make profit at these pricing levels. Tomatoes are very energy hungry and require almost as much light as cannabis and temperatures around 20'C.
Last edited by ramon2 on Apr 22nd, 2020 1:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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10 replies
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
15863 posts
13085 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
Two kinds of greenhouse growers in Canada
Regular & hydroponic
Most of the regular growers are found in Canada’s two “Banana Belts”
Where the temps are naturally warmer ... ☀️☀️☀️
Southern Ontario & Southern BC

Hydroponic Greenhouses tend to produce a nicer quality of tomato IMO
Cuz they are a far more controlled atmosphere
But it’s also a lot more expensive to grow ... and buy

There are Hydroponic Greenhouses right across Canada ... pretty much in every province

For more info on all this
GOOGLE : Canada Hydroponic Tomatoes

It will give you lots of newS articles on both types of Greenhouse operations
And how we now have more tomatoes being produced than many parts of the USA
Even though they have a milder climate

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/20 ... superpower

EDIT / ADD - Don’t know where you live (ya need to update your RFD Profile to show something in the location field )
But a lot of these Greenhouses welcome visitors
And most of them also get on the local “Doors Open” events annually
Worth a visit
You’ll be amazed

And if you are anything like us ... you’ll start looking specifically for their name brand tomatoes (& other veggies) when you shop
The quality is much better than a tomato picked green and been on a truck for a week from Mexico etc
More expensive ... but worth every penny
Plus you are supporting someone local
With MADE IN CANADA Regional Indicator Symbol Letters Ca
[OP]
Member
Nov 14, 2012
387 posts
245 upvotes
PointsHubby wrote: ...
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/20 ... superpower
...
EDIT / ADD - Don’t know where you live (ya need to update your RFD Profile to show something in the location field )
But a lot of these Greenhouses welcome visitors
And most of them also get on the local “Doors Open” events annually
Worth a visit
You’ll be amazed
Thanks for the info. I am AMAZED already. I am from Niagara Falls.

Btw. I found who these tomatoes are from - Mucci Farms from Kingsville, ON. One of the tomatoes had larger label with the info.
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Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2011
6161 posts
3224 upvotes
Mississauga
I grew up in Windsor and am familiar with the industry. At one time I believe the Kingsville/Leamington area had the largest concentration of greenhouses in the world.
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
1829 posts
1352 upvotes
GTA West
ramon2 wrote: Thanks for the info. I am AMAZED already. I am from Niagara Falls.

Btw. I found who these tomatoes are from - Mucci Farms from Kingsville, ON. One of the tomatoes had larger label with the info.
Mucci also repackages foreign tomatoes, so what you see under their label is not necessarily all Ontario grown.

Greenhouse production is why the Farmers' Markets have Ontario tomatoes, peppers and sometimes strawberries outside of the normal season. The Niagara belt is a leader in this industry involving among others Dutch immigrant families, and a lot of the technology comes from Holland which is a world leader in this type of agriculture.
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
1829 posts
1352 upvotes
GTA West
BTW a lot of greenhouse operations in Niagara were bought up by cannabis producers, so some of the capacity that was previously available for other purposes has been diverted to cannabis. And now many cannabis producers are in trouble!

I don't know if that is going to have any impact on food production that we may need if shortages occur. We already know that farming operations are experiencing delays in bringing their farm worker in from Mexico, etc. I expect to see very expensive produce this summer. People who don't visit farms may have no idea how dependent we are on foreign workers.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
15863 posts
13085 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
Dealmaker1945 wrote: BTW a lot of greenhouse operations in Niagara were bought up by cannabis producers, so some of the capacity that was previously available for other purposes has been diverted to cannabis. And now many cannabis producers are in trouble!

I don't know if that is going to have any impact on food production that we may need if shortages occur. We already know that farming operations are experiencing delays in bringing their farm worker in from Mexico, etc. I expect to see very expensive produce this summer. People who don't visit farms may have no idea how dependent we are on foreign workers.
Recently saw a news story on this

Migrant workers who arrived now doing their 14 days isolations.

Growers saying it’s an added expense for them ... and 2 weeks of lost productivity.

Not to mention they’ll need to implement social / physical distancing elements to how various jobs are done once the operation gets underway ... production lines etc

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/farm-lab ... -1.5535727

Plus many of the annual 60,000 have not arrived yet
A real problem for Cdn Growers and this years crops
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
6055 posts
2679 upvotes
SW corner of the cou…
The Campari and Roma varietes grown in SW BC are fairly tasteless. I've long given up on them.
Cream rises to the top. So does scum.
[OP]
Member
Nov 14, 2012
387 posts
245 upvotes
PointsHubby wrote: Plus many of the annual 60,000 have not arrived yet
A real problem for Cdn Growers and this years crops
One would think that replacing 60,000 foreign workers when 1/3 of the country workforce sits at home, would not be very hard.

After my initial excitement, now I think that it was not a normal sale, but rather a distressed one. There is no way to produce and distribute greenhouse tomatoes at those price levels in healthy Canadian economy.

Some farmers in US chose to destroy crops. Even in Canada, there are some reports of farmers disposing of the crop after trying to give it away to overfilled food banks.

Canada is in quite good position comparing to other countries. Situation can go both ways here, we may see produce prices going up or we can see it even going down due agricultural overcapacity if farmers and government decide it better to keep operations going at full speed rather than scale down and then restart. Weirder things have happened, like recent negative price on oil.
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Deal Fanatic
Jun 24, 2006
9475 posts
3757 upvotes
I will gladly pay $4/lbs for quality Canadian tomatos vs the ripen on the truck Mexican tomatos...... They are around $4/lbs right now, but in the summer they are often down to $1.49 for sales and regular price at $2.49.

We have an amazing local, that supplies the Foodland in town, as well as other small markets and usually has their own store front. They are typically what you would picture as the "perfect tomato"

http://www.casteelsgreenhouses.ca

And if you think those photos are just for website, these are in my kitchen right now. So delicious.
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