Norfolk County farmers grow more pumpkins than anywhere else in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. Three Norfolk County pumpkin growers are highlighted in the latest edition of Norfolk News.
According to the 2011 agricultural census, Victoria Gray writes, more than 50 farms and 1,800 acres of Norfolk’s sandy soil are dedicated to growing pumpkin, squash and zucchini, which are grouped together for statistical purposes.
Many of those farmers, like George DeLeebeeck, sell pumpkins from the farm, at markets and to the Toronto Food Terminal, where they are then shipped to stores and nurseries. DeLeebeeck has about 40 acres in Vittoria dedicated to pumpkins.
Scotlynn Group of Companies in Vittoria is the largest pumpkin grower in Norfolk, producing more than three million pumpkins a year. CEO Scott Biddle said his company sells pumpkins all over North America, including to the U.S. and across Canada. Scotlynn grows pie pumpkins and jack-o-lantern pumpkins, and in recent years has started growing white pumpkins because they have increased in popularity. Their pumpkins are found in large grocery store chains and small markets. They also sell to companies that puree the pumpkins for use in other products.
Cheryl Peck, director of operations at The Cider Keg, says pumpkins round out their farm’s growing season nicely. The Vittoria farm has about five acres dedicated to pumpkins and other gourds. The farm provides the Erie Beach Hotel with many bushels of pumpkins for its handmade specialty, pickled pumpkins. Peck said a lot of the pumpkins are sold at their market on Vittoria Road, but they also sell to a few wholesalers and to a Canadian company that buys their pumpkin puree.
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