Fisheries and Land Resources

Forestry and Agrifoods

Vegetables

Vegetable production was probably the first type of agriculture enterprise carried on in Newfoundland. Having a good supply of vegetables was necessary for survival in the early days of settlement.

The main emphasis of vegetable production today still concentrates on the types of vegetables that are most suited to our soil and climate conditions. The vegetable industry in the province was valued at over $6.0 million in 2006. The most important vegetable crops produced are potatoes, turnip, cabbage, carrot, and beets. However, our diets are changing; people are becoming more health conscious, and the value of a more varied mix of vegetables in our diet is more appreciated and Newfoundland and Labrador producers are changing to capture some of the market.

Vegetable growers have adopted the latest technology to produce these crop competitively. Growing crops is a complex business, it involved planning, financing, accounting, labor management, mechanization, pest control, harvesting, cooling, storage, grading, packaging and marketing. Our farmers use the latest equipment and facilities ie. precision seeders, mechanical transplanters, greenhouses, row covers, irrigation, refrigerated, jacketed and ice bank cooled storages just to list some of the technologies.

Opportunities in the vegetable sector include:

  • Extend the market season of the traditional root crops and cabbage by the construction new and improving existing storage capacity.
  • Put more emphasis on the production and marketing of non traditional and speciality crops.
  • Use technologies such as floating row covers and unheated greenhouses to capture the early market and grown warner and longer season crops.
  • To continue efforts to expand and create new markets; farmer's markets, farm markets, sales to fundraising organization, u-picks, etc.
  • To emphasize to consumers the value fo fresh local grown vegetables and the economic importance of buying Newfoundland grown to support the economy.
  • To add value by further processing. Vegetable products have been made and continue to be made in Newfoundland ie. peeled potatoes, canned and frozen greens, soups. These products could be expanded. The following products may offer possibilities, coleslaw, carrot sticks, ready made salads, shredded lettuce, pickled beets, rhubarb wine, frozen turnip and rhubard. Soups and stews based on wild game meat and local vegetables could have possibilities. These products could first be marketed through institutional markets ie. Restaurants, hotels, hospitals, etc.
  • Explore the production of culinary and medicinal herbs. People are willing to try different foods and there is interest in alternative medicine. The preparing, packaging and marketing of these products offer opportunities for adding value. Major markets could exist outside of Newfoundland and Canada for these products.

Challenges in the vegetable industry include an adequate land base for expansion, proper crop rotation and efficient mechanization; capital to acquire land, machinery and buildings; and knowledge and skills to stay competitive in an every more competitive environment.

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