Nature Fresh Farms, which has grown greenhouse peppers for several years, added organic peppers to this season’s production after conducting numerous tests.
Last season, the Leamington, Ontario based grower-shipper had two trials that involved 20-30 combinations of nutrients, soil substrates and pepper varieties to find the ideal one that produces high yields of high-quality, tasty peppers.
“We collected all the data and, of course, learned a lot,” said Peter Quiring, president.
This year, Nature Fresh Farms is commercially growing about 5 acres of certified organic peppers under glass. Production involves mostly red bells, with some yellow and orange. If a customer wants green bells, Quiring said the colored peppers are harvested green.
One of the challenges with organic production has been the dearth of products, whether nutrients or soil substrates, that can be used, Quiring said.
Even if they’re available, the materials tend to be much more expensive than similar conventional products.
So far, Quiring said he’s extremely pleased with the peppers they’re harvesting.
“They look just amazing,” he said in late April. “They look every bit as good, if not better, than conventional peppers.”
Demand has been strong, Quiring said, in part because Nature Fresh Farms has been able to meet a need.
“We compete primarily with Mexico, Europe and Israel,” he said. “Europe is not yet on the market, and Israel is out of the market, so we’re competing with Mexico at this time and our quality is always top-notch.”