There’s always been a strong connection between Dutch and Canadian growers. Many horticulturists in Canada have Dutch roots and they often continued to source knowledge from their native country. Horticultural training seems to fall short in the second largest country in the world.
“Last year was extraordinary. During March, April, May, we were all very worried. I really couldn’t tell if we’d be able to make it. But after Mother’s Day, we were struggling to meet the demand for plants”, recalls Mike Steekelenburg.
In 2004, the grower, originally from the Westland region in the Netherlands, started CosMic Plant in Beamsville, Ontario, together with his brother Neil. They grow phalaenopsis at their 3-ha nursery. Mike was one of the guests in last Thursday’s episode of Jungle Talks on Paprika Tasty Radio, which focused on the Canadian horticultural industry.
Generally speaking, the Canadian horticulture sector is doing well, despite Covid-19. One of the challenges that Canadian growers are facing is labour, according to Steekelenburg.
28-ha tomato nursery
The Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) allows growers to hire temporary workers from abroad when they can’t find enough people in Canada. The workers from Mexico, and certain Caribbean countries, can work at nurseries in Canada for a maximum of eight months per year. (..)
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