Cucumber © Can Stock Photo / DoraZett

Ontario Cucumbers Going To Asia

Ontario greenhouse cucumbers are making waves in Asia due in part to recent market development ventures in Hong Kong and mainland China.

Recent economic expansion combined with limited domestic production of cucumbers in Asia sparked the idea for a series of trade missions by Ontario greenhouse growers to explore market opportunities. The market development initiatives took place throughout 2014 and 2015, and the payoffs are just being realized now.

Ontario growers can deliver fresh cucumbers to Asia within two to three days of picking.

Ontario’s greenhouse vegetable industry accounts for more than $820 million in farm gate sales of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, and contributes roughly 13,000 jobs to Ontario’s economy. OGVG is focused on market expansion to drive economic growth and create more jobs here in Ontario.

Jacquie Trombley is the OGVG’s Marketer Liaison Officer but does admit regulations and logistics are the biggest challenges. Another hurdle was getting Asian customers to believe Canadian farmers could grow cucumbers all year round.

The market development groundwork began in 2014 when a group of Ontario representatives traveled to Asia to attend a fruit and vegetable industry trade show. They met product buyers, determined market potential and identified challenges of exporting cucumbers to Asia.

In 2015, OGVG hosted an Ontario greenhouse vegetable trade show in Hong Kong to provide Ontario greenhouse growers an opportunity to showcase their produce to Asian buyers.

The initial market development projects in 2014 and 2015 were funded in part through Growing Forward 2. The project was the first significant step toward expanding Ontario greenhouse vegetable exports overseas. OGVG is building on that success to expand marketing and sales in other Asian markets.