As a guest of Produce Made Simple, I was recently invited to participate in an industry tour of Ontario Peach country, which just happens to be in Niagara Region. If you’ve never made it out this way, I encourage you to – there is so much more to see than just Niagara Falls! In fact, Ontario has over 200 Tender Fruit Growers and most are family farms, spanning over 10,000 acres of farmland.
Our micro climates and soil create the perfect conditions for peaches and nectarines. According to Rob Enns, a 3rd generation Ontario peach farmer who generously provided a tour of his packing facility commented, “Our hot days and cool nights help the fruit taste sweeter.”
A lot of work and innovation also goes into creating the perfect peach! For instance, peaches are hot when they are picked and need to be cooled quickly to maintain freshness and help them last longer. Therefore, the facilities we visited demonstrated how they have invested in new cooling system where fans push cold air through vented bins. All of the fruit can be cooled to 3 or 4 degrees Celsius in about 3 hours. Then it can be stored in a cooler before being packed.
Grower-packers such as Tregunno Fruit Farms also have invested in state of the art technology for sorting and grading fruit; monitoring for size, weight and even using infrared technology to detect hidden flaws. The family farm isn’t as traditional as you may imagine it to be.
There are also, “gentle bin tippers”, a highly technical term for a machine that carefully empties the fruit onto the conveyor for cleaning, defuzzing, sorting and ultimately packing. The packing is done by hand.
After touring a lush orchard and several facilities to help us better understand the industry and the work that goes into creating sweet tender fruit, we were treated to a wonderful lunch experience at Hidden Gem Weddings – outside overlooking a peach orchard. The food was inspired, beautiful and delicious!
Thank you Produce Made Simple for this educational experience! Learn more on their site: