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Ontario growers REACH out to Third World


April 29, 2010
By Dave Harrison

April 29, 2010, Leamington, Ont. – It’s amazing what tomatoes, peppers and cukes can do! Introducing “The Perfect Pepper Competition” and “The Coolest Cucumber Competition,” brought to you by the creators and organizers of the hugely successful “Who’s The Hottest Tomato Competition.”

April 29, 2010, Leamington, Ont. – It’s amazing what tomatoes, peppers and cukes can do! Introducing “The Perfect Pepper Competition” and “The Coolest Cucumber Competition,” brought to you by the creators and organizers of the hugely successful “Who’s The Hottest Tomato Competition.”

REACH International created and organizes the competitions exclusively for the Ontario greenhouse industry. For the fourth consecutive year, many of the biggest greenhouse industry players are participating in the Hottest Tomato Competition and eagerly embracing the new annual Perfect Pepper and Coolest Cucumber competitions.

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reach_2010_pix  
Mastronardi Produce/SUNSET® representative, Guiseppe
Rubino, at left, accepts the Overall Best Tomato Award from REACH
president Art
Barron at last year’s event. (INSET) REACH volunteer Krystle Botermans
presents
clothing and school books to a Ugandan student from funds raised by The
Hottest
Tomato Competition 2008.


 

REACH is a small charity run entirely by volunteers. This small but mighty group of volunteers has raised thousands of dollars to build schools, drill water wells, and care for impoverished children in Uganda, Africa. Their unique program guarantees that 100 per cent of child sponsorship dollars goes to help the children.

“We do separate fundraisers, such as this one, to raise money for operating expenses,” says event organizer Nicole Barron. “Since we’re all volunteers, our expenses are very low. Whatever we raise beyond those expenses also goes to our projects. The high integrity of REACH and the life-changing trips some volunteers have made to Uganda make us passionate to continue helping these precious children.”

So, what does this have to do with greenhouse vegetables? Leamington, Ontario, located along Lake Erie shoreline and a short drive from Windsor, is known as both The Greenhouse Capital of North America and the Tomato Capital of Canada. Leamington is also home to REACH International.

Last year’s overall winner, and winner of several sub-categories, was Mastronardi Produce/SUNSET®. Mastronardi sells all over North America and is ecstatic about their awards, and proudly promotes it. Their reaction is typical of all the competitors.

“Every marketer and greenhouse owner has been supportive,” says Barron. The corporate sponsors share in the enthusiasm. “Some even come out to volunteer at the event! It’s not just about a clever marketing opportunity for either group, they all love that we’re really making a difference for those who desperately need it.”

With any successful venture comes growth and change. The competitions are moving this year to an even better location and to an earlier date. The event used to run in August, which lands towards the end of the growing season. This year the competitions will be held June 18-20, much better timing for growers.

“We’ve moved to the Leamington Agricultural Fair, run by the Leamington District Agricultural Society,” says Barron. “We can’t imagine a more perfect fit to show off our fabulous Ontario greenhouse produce.”

The Fair provides better access than its previous site and increased public exposure. Also new this year is a Greenhouse Farmer’s Market with donated produce from the contestants.

For more information on the Hottest Tomato, the Perfect Pepper, or the Coolest Cucumber competitions, or to download entry forms, go to www.hottesttomato.com


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