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Spanning the East

Major metro areas, diverse demand, and turning challenges into opportunities
MS_Spanning the East

Newfoundland & Labrador
Canada’s most easterly province is formed by the island of Newfoundland and the larger mainland area of Lab-rador. Sandwiched between Quebec and the North Atlantic Ocean, the province’s harsh climate and unfavorable soil are not conducive to growing an abundance of crops.

Consequently, Newfoundland and Labrador are home to a relatively small produce industry that includes just over two dozen fruit farms, over 70 vegetable growers, and seven greenhouse facilities.

The province relies heavily on imports for fresh produce, which often drives up pricing at stores. Perhaps this is why Newfoundland and Labrador residents consume far less fruit than other provinces. According to Statistics Canada, less than 1 in 5 respondents reported consuming fruits and vegetables five or more times a day.

New Brunswick
Despite its cold and snowy winters, New Brunswick is a significant producer of apples, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, and potatoes. These crops are primarily grown in the St. John River Valley.

The province includes 415 fruit farms, 92 field vegetable farms and 144 potato farms. Responsible for nearly 14 percent of Canada’s total production, New Brunswick’s potato receipts were valued at $153 million in 2016.

Wild blueberries are the fastest growing fruit crop in the province, accounting for 25 percent of Canada’s overall production. Although wild blueberry production increased by nearly 12 percent in 2016, oversupply in North American markets drove down the crop’s value by nearly 18 percent.

Prince Edward Island
In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest pro-vince. Though it may be small in land mass, it is mighty, particularly in potato production. As Canada’s top potato producer, the province accounts for one- quarter of the country’s potatoes.

In addition to potatoes, Island farmers also grow grains and some vegetables, says Fulton Hamill, president of Fulton Hamill, Ltd., a potato grower and dealer on the island. Considered the province’s lifeblood, there are more than 200 potato growers on the island, mostly family farms that have been passed down for generations.

Islanders have been growing potatoes since the late 1700s, and the industry remains the primary driver of the economy, contributing more than $1 billion to the economy each year. In 2016, Prince Ed-ward Island growers planted more than 88,000 acres and produced nearly 1.2 million tonnes of potatoes, most for processing. Just over a quarter of production goes to the fresh market, and a good portion is exported—to the tune of more than $360 million.