Hot weather this spring has led to a snowpack of less than 50 per cent of normal for mid-May for the number one apple-producing state. That’s a development worth watching for all Canadian growers experiencing a spring of variable weather.

Fyffes Ireland is launching a banana band that can withstand the rigours of shipping through the cold chain while claiming a sustainable, fully recyclable paper. It’s an example of more alternatives to come in the produce industry.

A few farmers’ markets will open Victoria Day weekend offering local produce to shoppers. What’s available this early in the season? Asparagus with rhubarb, green onions and radishes soon to follow. Also look for greenhouse-grown produce such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce and strawberries.

United Fresh 2019 offers a glimpse into the future with a TEC Zone featuring 24 top ag tech start-up companies. One of those is Montreal-based Motorleaf, which uses artificial intelligence to automate harvest yield estimates and disease scouting in tomato and pepper greenhouses. 

Canada’s agri-food system could soon face multiple threats as the rules-based structures of international trade comes under fire from escalating bilateral U.S.-China conflict. At the same time, a deadly swine disease is occurring at a mass scale, demanding integrity in the international trade system to respond and mitigate the supply gap. The stakes for Canadian agri-food are substantial.

The High Rise broccoli series by Seminis Vegetable Seeds Inc. is the winner in the Produce Marketing Association's 2019 Science & Technology ‘Circle of Excellence Award.’  Tall, erect stems are a feature worth noting for more labour-saving harvesting.

AgScape, the voice of agriculture in the Ontario classroom, announced an educational challenge that will allow teachers and students to trek across the province to learn about local foods, without leaving their classrooms. It’s a great way to celebrate Local Food Week, June 3 to 9, 2019.