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big demand for local grown European Bell

Canada: Veg grower St. David’s Hydroponics to expand with 24 acres

At a time where many companies are scaling back or struggling to maintain the status quo, one Niagara-on-the-Lake business is expanding. St. David’s Hydroponics is faced with a unique problem: the demand for its European bell peppers and eggplants from their current customer base exceeds its supply.

“It’s not a terrible problem to have,” said Henry Stienstra, with a bit of a laugh. The sales manager for St. David’s Hydroponics said customer demand is the reason behind the expansion currently underway on the Concession 7 property. The multi-million dollar extension will see an additional 24 acres of greenhouse space added to the 34 acres currently in use. A new packaging facility will also be added to the site.

In terms of production, Stienstra said they should be able to go from 1.2 million orders filled to 1.8 million. Currently they serve clients across Canada and North America, but with the expansion Stienstra notes they are hoping to expand in the local market, particularly by supplying to restaurants and markets. The company currently employs a staff member dedicated to promoting the company locally — which Stienstra notes means within a 100-kilometre radius.

The hydroponics company operates out of three facilities in Niagara, the Concession 7 site, as well as locations in St. Davids and Beamsville. Vice-president Toine van der Knaap uses his knowledge and expertise learned from agricultural traditions in Holland to advance the Niagara company.

“Our produce is the result of a meticulous growing process — from state-of-the-art computerized control systems to the extreme care used in grading and packaging,” he said in the release announcing the expansion. “We are not motivated to be the biggest, only the best in what we do... the company adheres to strict food safety regulations and is constantly searching for ways to maintain and improve upon its ‘Gold Standard,’ which is awarded annually from the Guelph Food Technology Centre.”


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