KINGSVILLE, Ontario — Despite worldwide economic woes in recent years, the Ontario greenhouse industry has continued to enjoy steady growth.
George Gilvesy, general manager of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association, said acreage has been added every year for the past decade. That trend is continuing in 2012.
Every January the association takes a count of the vegetable growing greenhouse acreage for assessment purposes. In January 2011, the association’s 224 member growers had a total of 1,919 acres in production. As of this month, there are 2,067 acres in production, with another 91 new acres expected to come online this year.
One of the companies adding greenhouse space this year is Mucci International Marketing. At its Agriville Farms operation, Mucci is adding a 15-acre greenhouse.
Mucci’s greenhouse operations manager Gianni Mucci said the company’s sales staff has gotten more requests for specialty tomatoes, such as cocktail varieties and tomatoes-on-the-vine. Those requests were the driving force behind the construction of the new 15-acre greenhouse.
Joe Spano, vice president for sales and marketing at Mucci, said the high-tech greenhouse costs about $750,000 per acre to build, but the return on investment is expected to be relatively quick because of customer demand.
In particular, two of Mucci’s specialty tomato offerings — Sun Drops and Bella Sweets — have become popular, Spano said. The Sun Drops were named a New Product Award Winner at the May 2011 United Fresh Produce Association trade show in New Orleans.