KINGSVILLE — One of Ontario’s largest greenhouse growers is continuing to expand its operations, thanks to pilot projects from Ontario Hydro.
In October, Mucci Farms completed its second phase of a three-phase plan to become North America’s largest greenhouse grower of strawberries. Twenty-four acres of greenhouses have already been constructed, with another 12 acres to be built in the next year.
Mucci Farms, which has 1,200 full-time staff, will be looking to hire another 100 employees because of the expansion.
Mucci Farms officials wouldn’t give details on the agreement with Ontario Hydro. Joe Spano, a vice-president of sales and marketing with Mucci Farms, told the Windsor Star that the company likely wouldn’t have been able to expand in Ontario without those pilot projects.
Mucci Farms, which already grows tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and cucumbers on more than 400 acres of greenhouses in Kingsville and Leamington, is currently building 60 acres of greenhouses in Ohio because of high Ontario hydro rates. Production there will begin in March, 2018.
A portion of the third phase will include artificial lighting to allow strawberries to be grown year round, although peak harvest will be in the summer. No pesticides are used in the greenhouse, creating a cleaner strawberry, Mucci Farms officials said.
The total cost of all three phases will be $36 million.