Transplant onion plantings are increasing in Ontario for 2021.
“The transplants arrived the other day and we’ll start planting by the end of the week,” says Avia Eek of Eek Farms in Ontario’s Holland Marsh. Seed onions finished planting early last week.
The transplants arrived from the Keller Bros. Greenhouses Inc. in Beamsville, ON, which cultivates the transplants and then ships them to Eek Farms each spring. In all this year, Eek has approximately 20 acres of transplants. “Last year we did 12 acres but we’ve been slowly increasing our number of transplants because you get the early market,” says Eek. “It’s that window between Ontario fresh and American fresh. Seed onions aren’t ready until August or September but using transplants, we’re harvesting by mid-July so that’s a month’s jump on seed onions.” She notes that pricing tends to be higher for transplant onions as well which helps offset the higher expenses in planting and managing a crop like onions.
Bill and Avia Eek of Eek Farms in Holland Marsh, ON.
Readying for good demand
As for demand, Eek anticipates demand to continue to be strong. “Onions have done well since people are eating at home and paying attention more to fresh produce,” she says. “COVID-19 was a reset in a way. We in agriculture have always understood the importance of agriculture. But that’s not the case across the board. But through COVID-19, people now understand the importance of the food supply chain.”
And on pricing, Eek hopes to see pricing similar to last year once again. “We were getting anywhere from $400-$450/pallet box of onions last year. A normal price is $250-$300,” she says. “The prices held really well through the season so we’ll see how it goes this year.”
For more information:
Avia and Bill Eek
Tel: +1 (905) 775-7059