Local produce retailers see boost in sales with low loonie
Canadian dollar hit a 13-year low Friday, and local produce is in high demand
Some P.E.I. vegetable sellers are seeing an upside to the low loonie — they're selling more product this winter, and expect bigger profits come spring.
With the Canadian dollar hitting another 13-year low Friday, trading below 69 cents U.S., the cost of shipping food from the U.S. to Canada has skyrocketed and customers are paying more for fresh produce.
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Brookfield Gardens and Red Soil Organics sell to Sobeys and the Atlantic Superstore. Owner Matt Dykerman said business is usually slow this time of year, but root vegetables have been flying off the shelves.
He suspects it's because customers don't want to pay the high prices for other vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.
"People are looking for ways to save on their grocery budget a little bit," he said.
Dykerman said it's been hard to keep up with demand. So far, he's had to hire four more people in his warehouse.
"Obviously it's good news for our business, I think it's a good thing that people are looking at buying more local product, I think that's good for the local economy."
Peter Meijer, sales manager at Van Kampen's Greenhouses in Charlottetown, has received a lot of phone calls lately asking if tomatoes are available.
"Certain stores that I deal with throughout the summer are coming to me and talking to me, 'Do you have tomatoes available?' And beyond that we get a lot of customers coming to the door," he said.
"It's almost heartbreaking. It's really hard to turn someone away."
Meijer expects he will run out of tomatoes quickly once they ripen in March.