Canadian Fruit & Vegetable Summit
March 10, 2021 at
Grower panel: Preparing for the coming season
This panel will feature discussion on how these growers handled the challenges of 2020, what they’ve learned, and how they’re approaching the coming season.
Katie Keddy, Valley Harvest Sweet Potatoes
Annamarie Klippenstein, Klipper’s Organics
Brett Schuyler, Schuyler Farms
Craig Wismer, Glen Elgin Vineyard Management
Katie farms sweet potatoes and strawberries with her husband and their two sons on their farm in Woodville, N.S., in addition to managing a herd of 55 beef cattle. Their farm is the biggest supplier of sweet potatoes in Atlantic Canada and one of the largest suppliers of strawberry nursing stock in Canada. Katie is a graduate of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (now merged with Dalhousie University). She and her husband, Philip, have partnered with researchers across North America and have recently built the first machine in Canada that will use UV sterilization as a pest management strategy in berries.
Annamarie grew up with organic farming and realized the importance of producing healthy, fresh food from an early age. Her parents, Hans and Mary Forstbauer, were renowned across British Columbia for pioneering organic farming methods, with the Forstbauer Natural Food Farm becoming one of B.C.’s first practicing organic and biodynamic farms in 1977.
Annamarie later pursued a restaurant management career before returning to start her own farm alongside her husband, Kevin, where they combined their skills and passion for great food to create Klipper’s Organics in 2001. The once small five-acre farm has since expanded into the 40-acre farm that it is today.
Brett farms apples near Simcoe, Ont., in Norfolk County with his dad, uncle and brother, where they also grow sour cherries, corn and soybeans. Although they now have 500 acres of apple orchards, it wasn’t until Brett and his brother Ryan both decided to join the family business several years ago that the Schuylers started to expand that part of their farm operation. Schuyler Farms grow Paula Red, McIntosh, Gala, Empire, Red Delicious, Ambrosia, Idared, Northern Spy, Cortland and Spartan apples.
Brett has a BSc. in agriculture from the University of Guelph, and his main focus is on the agronomy of apple growing, including fertility and pruning decisions, orchard maintenance and decisions related to new plantings. Schuyler Farms employs over 200 seasonal employees, most of whom are temporary foreign workers (TFWs).
Craig is the manager of Glen Elgin Vineyard Management and a registered viticultural consultant with the Grape Growers of Ontario.
Glen Elgin Vineyard Management was started in the mid-nineties by the Wismer family, as a response to the demand for premium quality vineyard management services in the Niagara grape and wine industry. Originally serving the family’s vineyards, they quickly expanded to service vineyard management demand in the Twenty Valley and Beamsville Bench areas.