From FCC Express
By Owen Roberts
Vegetable production and exports in southwestern Ontario are getting a boost, through a major investment in processing.
On Feb 2, greenhouse Lakeside Produce Inc. announced a $7-million expansion to its Leamington processing plant to meet increased demand from its major retail customers – large retail chains, club stores and food service distributors.
The province is supporting the expansion with $1 million from its Southwestern Ontario Development Fund.
“Leamington is well known for producing high-quality vegetables and being an economic hub for Ontario’s agri-food sector,” says Ontario agriculture, food and rural affairs minister Jeff Leal.
Lakeside Produce has been in the greenhouse business since 1943. It grows, ships and markets vegetables, such as bell peppers, cucumbers and specialty tomatoes. Besides Leamington, Lakeside maintains operations in Carpinteria, California and Guadalajara, Mexico.
The development will create more than 200 new jobs in Leamington, which was rocked in 2013 when long-time community and agricultural stalwart Heinz announced it was closing its doors.
Chris Cervini, President and CEO of Lakeside Produce, says his company shares the province’s vision of bringing fresh, locally grown produce to Ontario. The investment in Lakeside simultaneously enhances exports.
The Leamington plant expansion is expected to be completed in the fall of 2019.