Vermillion Growers will soon be selling fresh Manitoba-grown tomatoes in local stores thanks to a new one-of-a-kind greenhouse in Dauphin.
The 10-acre greenhouse facility celebrated its grand opening last month and the first tomato seedlings are scheduled to arrive on September 4, 2023, with the first batch of product hoping to be shipped out by November. The company estimates that 10 million pounds of tomatoes will climb its vines every 47 weeks.
“It’s been a long haul, and we’re so looking forward to those plants coming in, and for our first shipment of tomatoes heading out the door,” said Maria Deschauer, managing director of Vermillion Growers.
“The need is quite huge in Canada,” Deschauer said. “There’s no concern about distributing [the product].”
During each 10-week maturing phase, the tomatoes will be handled by Dauphin locals — largely Ukrainian immigrants — and high-tech automation that recycles water for irrigation and redistributes carbon dioxide.
The tomatoes are pre-bought by Red Sun Farms, a greenhouse vegetables company that will distribute Vermillion Growers’ products to stores. Vermillion Growers hopes to transport all tomatoes from vine to store within 24 hours and will go into grocery chains in Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary and Edmonton.
According to Statistics Canada spokeswoman Melissa Gammage, Canada imported $425.9 million worth of tomatoes, or 197,895,929 kilograms, last year alone.
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