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Ontario organic beet production cut back for fall 2023

Organic beets in Ontario remain plentiful and will likely stay that way until the spring, which means fall production will be trimmed back. “We have lots of beets and we will until April,” says Markus Pfenning of Pfenning’s Organic Vegetables Inc.

Organic beets in Ontario remain plentiful and will likely stay that way until the spring.

The ample supply in part traces back to the 2019-2020 season. “We grow beets ourselves, and we have a handful of growers also growing them for us. Three years ago, the prices were high. So the following year, people decided to grow more beets,” says Pfenning. “For the 2023 season, we’ve reduced acreage and asked our growers to do the same.” Pfenning’s has reduced more acreage than other growers, given that some of them specialize in beet growing while Pfenning’s grows a number of organic commodities.

Markus Pfenning says while there is the consistent movement of beets, demand is slowing down.

Softening demand
At the same time, the demand for organic beets seems to be slowing down. “It’s not doing so quickly, but demand is not what it was three years ago. There’s pretty consistent movement though and we see these changes a lot--items falling in and out of favor,” says Pfenning. “A number of years ago, kale for example was really popular and it’s not nearly as popular now as it was then.”

Ontario organic beet growers have seen increased competition from Quebec organic growers. 

That means prices have softened for beets from the 2019-2020 season by more than 10 percent. Also contributing to the price softening is increased competition from organic production in Quebec. There, organic farmers, or those transitioning to organic production, are subsidized (something the Quebec provincial government has been doing since 2015) allowing their pricing to be lower than comparable product grown in Ontario.

For more information:
Markus Pfenning
Pfennings Organic Vegetables Inc.
Tel: +1 (519) 662-3468  

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