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Canada (ON): greenhouse vegetable grower switched to strawberries in 2017

Strawberry plants replaced cucumbers in a Leamington greenhouse this past summer when DelFrescoPure made a $15-million switch to grow and sell fresh strawberries through the winter.

It costs 30 to 40 percent more to grow strawberries because of the extra expenses such as added lighting that tricks the everbearing strawberry plants to grow like it’s a long summer day.

“We took a big chance putting these lights in,” Carl Mastronardi, president and one of the owners of the Kingsville-based Del Fresco Produce, said Monday. “It’s working.”

The immediate payoff could be Valentine’s Day sales but in the long run for the greenhouse industry and for consumers, the move a couple of Leamington and Kingsville growers have made to greenhouse berries could be a game-changer.

“This could be a lot bigger than we think,” Mastronardi said of having fresh, local berries that are grown using less chemicals because of the beneficial insects greenhouses use to kill pests.

“This opens up a realm of trying a whole bunch of new things.”

Next on the list are raspberries, he said.

Read more at the Windsor Star (Sharon Hill)

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