Tomato growers watching N.S. crop price carefully
Bumper crops in U.S. lowering prices in Ontario
Tomato growers in Nova Scotia say they're watching carefully to see whether bumper crops in California, Florida and Mexico will lower prices of tomatoes in this province.
Kim Stokdijk, who grows tomatoes in her Beaver Brook greenhouses, said growers in Mexico have always been able to grow their crops for less money.
"They can bring product here much cheaper than we can produce it," she told CBC News on Tuesday.
"We have to work sometimes on a skeleton crew."
Stokdijk said a good growing season has led to high yields of tomatoes in Florida and California this year — something that has driven prices of tomatoes down in Ontario by 40 per cent.
Stokdijk said that worries her because her greenhouses — which cover 1.4 hectares near Truro — are heated with waste wood that has gone up in price in recent years.
"That is about 14 per cent of our expenses now and that is a huge chunk," she said.
Ontario farmers, on the other hand, heat their greenhouses in a way that gives them an advantage.
"They are using natural gas to create electricity, but an offshoot of that allows them to have heat, enough heat to heat their greenhouses," Stokdijk said.
"They also are able to produce the CO2 that they need, that's required for us to produce tomatoes and cucumbers and other greenhouse products."
Stokdijk said the price of tomatoes she produces has gone down $1 per case in each of the last two years.
Despite the price pressure, she believes local produce has an advantage over imports.
"Although they look the same in the grocery store, you aren't getting the same flavour and quality and quick turnaround of a fresh, local product," she said.