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Vermeer Orchards

Ontario apple producer invests $4 mln to expand sales

A family-run apple farm near Aylmer has spent $4 million to upgrade with a new packing line and storage facility. These investments are said to help them expand sales across Southwestern Ontario in a hugely competitive industry. All in all, Vermeer Orchards, which grows apples on nearly 57 hectares just south of Aylmer, has invested $3 million in automation to boost packing and processing and an additional $1 million in storage.

Vermeer’s doubled its storage in size and introduced the new packing line last month, just in time for peak harvest season, which typically runs through October. Before the upgrade, staff would bag the apples by hand and the business used a third party to process and distribute the produce, Vermeer said. Now, the farm can market its own apples and have more control over picking and distribution.

With more than 700 growers, Ontario is the largest apple-producing province in Canada. Ontario farmers grow more than a dozen apple varieties along the shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. The farm gate value of Ontario apples is more than $95 million, including on-farm sales and sales to fresh and processing markets.


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