FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 22, 2016
Over 87,000 Trees Planted, 80,000 More To Go in Major Tender Fruit Initiative
64 Growers participate in subsidized planting project with Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and Ontario Tender Fruit Growers to bolster Niagara’s tender fruit industry.
A grant from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, in partnership with Ontario Tender Fruit Growers, has supported 64 growers in planting 87,888 trees this spring. The new plantings include trees from the Stellar Peach Series, and varieties more resistant to fire blight.
In an industry first, John Thwaites planted 10 acres of Asian Pears for commercial production at Thwaites Farms in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Thwaites is the first farmer to grow Asian Pears for retail in Ontario.
While a limited supply of Thwaites Farms Asian Pears are available at some grocery stores in the Niagara and Toronto areas, once the newly planted trees mature, locally grown Asian Pears will be available for the first time to shoppers throughout Ontario.
Thwaites Farms is also investing in cutting-edge innovation in how trees are planted and cultivated. These high-density trees yield much more per acre, improving the economic viability of operating an orchard.
The project subsidizes 25% of the cost of the new trees. For the 2016 planting season, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation contributed $234,000 to purchase more than 87,000 new trees.
“Niagara tender fruit is beloved throughout Ontario. This project supports growers to increase their yields and bolsters the local economy.” said Burkhard Mausberg, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation CEO. “We support growers, who are innovating in terms of the varieties they’re planting and faced very tough drought conditions this year.”
“We were very pleased to see so many growers participate in the cost-sharing program,” said Phil Tregunno, Chair, Ontario Tender Fruit Growers. “We’re supporting our growers to expand their crops and get the most out of each season.”
The planting project will continue, with over 80,000 trees on order to be planted in spring 2017.
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 two 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. Learn more at: greenbelt.ca.
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.
Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
416-960-001 ext. 306