FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2016
APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR TENDER FRUIT TREE PLANTING PROGRAM
Application Deadline for Niagara Region Growers is March 31, 2016
Applications are now being received for the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and Ontario Tender Fruit Growers’ pilot project to plant up to 130,000 tender fruit trees, such as peaches and pears, to provide a financial boost to Greenbelt growers, strengthen this key economic sector, and increase prosperity in the Niagara Region.
The deadline for applications is March 31, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Growers can access the guides and application forms at www.ontariotenderfruit.ca (click on the “Growers” button located at the top right) and the Tender Fruit Growers will also have a booth at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention on February 17 and 18, 2016, in Niagara Falls.
Successful applicants will receive an estimated 25 per cent cost-share per tender fruit tree. Planting will take place this spring and fall, with the tender fruit varieties available to consumers in grocery stores, farmers’ markets, on-farm markets, and restaurants as soon as summer 2019. After three to four years, the harvest from 500 acres of tender fruit trees will provide an injection of about $4 million into Ontario’s economy.
Working with government and industry partners, the up to $400,000 investment from the Foundation in October 2015, will help the industry introduce both improved and new tender fruit varieties in the protected Greenbelt that will meet consumer demand for high quality local stone fruit and pears.
“We expect the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers to be flooded with applications over the next two months — ultimately increasing the amount of fresh and delicious tender fruit available in Ontario,” said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “We are looking forward to the new tender fruit trees going into the ground this spring or about the same time the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs take out their golf clubs,”
Niagara is the top producer of the province’s tender fruit, one of only two designated specialty crop areas in the nearly two million acres of permanently protected Greenbelt. The tender fruit varieties will benefit from Niagara Region’s sandy soils and the moderating effects on temperatures provided by Lake Ontario and the Niagara River.
“This funding provides a great opportunity for growers to examine their current product mix and invest in newer varieties,” said Phil Tregunno, Chair, Ontario Tender Fruit Growers. “The application form is easy and staff are available to help growers through the process.”
About the Greenbelt:
Ontario’s Greenbelt is the solution for fresh air, clean water, healthy local food, active outdoor recreation, and a thriving economy. At nearly 2 million acres, it’s the world’s largest permanently protected greenbelt, keeping our farmlands, forests, and wetlands safe and sustainable. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation works to help keep farmers successful, strengthen local economies, and protect natural features. Join us in early 2016 as we celebrate 10 years of success for the Greenbelt! Learn more at: greenbelt.ca or find us on Twitter and Facebook.
About the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers:
The Ontario Tender Fruit Growers represents more than 250 grower-members. The average annual farm gate value across Ontario from fresh market and processing sales of Ontario tender fruit totals more than $55 million.