Production ramping up for Canadian greenhouse cucumbers

As spring takes hold and warmer weather gradually creeps in, Canadian greenhouse cucumber growers are starting to see an increase in production. Although greenhouses enable year round production, the summer months bring about warmer conditions and more sunlight, bringing with it faster growth.

"We are in full season now with both our long and mini cucumbers," said Mike Meinhardt of Red Hat Co-op in Alberta. "Production began to really ramp up at the end of February and things are going very well. The longer, more intense sunlight during summer brings on more product. More greenhouses operate overall during these months. In the winter, only those greenhouses with lights will be operating, and even then, it does not entirely replace sunlight."

Good market for Canadian cucumbers
It's an excellent market for greenhouse cucumbers, with producers enjoying strong consumer demand and good prices. "It's always a strong market for cucumbers and Canadian retailers will always switch to Canadian product when it is available," Meinhardt said. "Prices have been good since the start of the year."

He added that the challenge of greenhouse growing means that careful management of product is needed to ensure good movement with retailers. "We follow the peaks and valleys of the retail world when production fluctuates," he said. "Trying to manage production is the fun part of greenhouse growing. It's about always reacting once the crop does what it does."

Filling the demand
As demand for greenhouse cucumbers grows, particularly in Canada, producers are looking to fill that demand with more acreage and more availability. "There is definitely increasing demand for Canadian product," Meinhardt noted. "Already, over half of our production is devoted to cucumbers, with the remainder made up of tomatoes, peppers and other greenhouse products. So we're always looking to transition to more acreage that can produce all year round to meet the demand."

When it comes to packaging types and sizes, Meinhardt said it depends on the retailer. "All our cucumbers come in retail ready packs," he said. "The size of the packs is determined by the retailer as they all have different requirements. Some want larger, some want smaller, and we also provide multipacks. By far the most popular variety are our English long cucumbers. They see the highest consumer demand."

For more information:
Mike Meinhardt
Red Hat Co-operative
Tel: +1 (403) 548-6453

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