Prices on fruits and veggies are predicted to go up in grocery stores this year, and while shoppers may not be ecstatic about paying more for certain foods, not everyone sees it as a bad thing.
That’s where Graham Pusch comes in. He’s part of Pusch Bros. Organic Farm in Windthorst. His 6,000 square foot greenhouse grows things like tomatoes and cucumbers year-round.
The University of Guelph Food Institute is predicting the average family will pay another $345 at grocery stores in 2016, with the price of food to rise between 2.5 and 4.5 per cent. For Pusch, that news is actually quite welcome.
“It just makes it that much easier for us to sell our products because even though our organic products are generally a little higher priced than the conventional products, when you consider imported products, now we’re very competitive,” he explained.
In fact, things are almost too popular for his operation.
“The market is excellent. Locally grown and organic, we cannot supply the demand for our produce.”
Conditions are almost ideal for year-round greenhouses like Pusch runs. He said Saskatchewan gets among the most sunlight in the world and, compared to other places, land taxes are relatively low in the province.
However, greenhouses are still rare. He figured there is currently only one other organic greenhouse operation that runs all year long, just north of Saskatoon.
“Because it’s organic, there is a bit of a premium on it. It’s a bit more difficult to grow and it’s a bit more expensive to grow organically and that’s why generally organic prices are higher,” he described. “People are nervous to learn how to do it. There’s a bit of a learning curve. It’s quite capital intensive as is a lot of farming operations.”
Pusch also said farming is a seven-day-a-week endeavour.