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Ont. tender fruit co-op showcases expansion

November 15, 2016  By Press release

November 15, 2016, Virgil, Ont – Vineland Growers Co-operative recently revealed its newly expanded warehouse and storage distribution centre to its farmer-owners and supporters.

The new 30,000 square foot expansion boasts 12 new shipping bays and 15,600 square feet of new cold storage space, all fully equipped with an advanced racking-system that allows product to flow in and out of the facility in an efficient first-in, first-out manner.

“On any given day, this site will see 40,000 boxes of fruit flow through this facility,” said Mike Ecker, the co-operative’s general manager.


Of the eight cold storage compartments, four have a state-of-the-art feature called Controlled Atmosphere (CA) technology from Holland.

“The CA component actually controls the temperature and the amount of oxygen in the space, reducing oxygen levels to as low as one per cent for maximum efficiency and quality, explained Dave Lepp, Vineland Growers‘ operations manager.

The co-operative has been a long-standing supplier of fresh local produce in the Niagara region, working closely with its local farmer-members for more than 100 years. With this expansion, Vineland Growers has grown its business internationally by receiving product from various countries around the world allowing the co-op to be operational 12 months a year.

Jim Collard, Niagara-on-the-Lake city councilor, took part in the day and commented on the strength of the co-operative’s ability to be a full service co-op to its members covering every aspect “from tree to store.”

George Lepp, a director of the co-op, congratulated the Vineland staff, the building crew and contractors on their commitment to not only building a superb facility, but keeping business operations running as usual while under construction.

“Our team not only managed a smooth transition during this time but, at the end of the day, we also managed to come in under budget,” said Lepp. “In this day and age, that is unheard of.”

Phil Tregunno, Vineland Growers Co-operative board chairman, spoke about the strength in farm-families working together.

“We have our four founding families to thank for their vision to form a fruit-growers producer co-op in 1913, but the same vision and determination is true today. The entrepreneurial spirit and a unwavering belief in that anything is possible by working together through our co-operative model has served us well and will continue to do so.”

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