Slaman plants first cut flower crop in new greenhouse
New facility doubles pre-existing capacity for production of cut chrysanthemum and lisianthus.
February 7, 2022 By Greta Chiu
John Slaman Greenhouses has planted the first crop in their new greenhouse.
Measuring approximately 150,000 sq. ft., the new facility doubles their production capacity for cut chrysanthemum and lisianthus, adding to their pre-existing 150,000 sq. ft climate-controlled greenhouse in Burford, Ont.
With delays in local planning and development processes as well as supply chain issues, the team finally broke ground last July and began planting in early February 2022.
“When we were originally starting the planning with our construction partners, we were hoping to be up and in production by September ,” shares Stephanie Slaman, manager of administration and government relations. She and her brother Theo, production manager, are the third generation to oversee the business. They carry on the family’s hands-on approach to managing the new greenhouse site while they continue the succession process, transitioning the business from their father, Brian.
Because their cut flower operation differs from the more prevalent types of agriculture in the area, Slaman’s was tasked with site-specific zoning, a development process that is most often seen in residential or industrial contexts. Combined with supply chain delays, the new site has missed some milestones but is on track for Mother’s Day.
Established in 1969 by the siblings’ grandfather John Slaman, the cut flower producer specializes in chrysanthemum and lisianthus. They sell approximately a quarter of their product through flower auctions in Toronto and Montreal, while the rest is distributed through wholesale and retail channels.
Built to help meet the rising demand for locally grown lisianthus, Stephanie says the new greenhouse has been outfitted with the latest available technology to improve efficiency, with a focus on innovative and sustainable growing practices. They’ve been working with local businesses – Prins Greenhouses, Cornell Feenstra Electric, JB Controls, Martin Energy Group, Perry’s Contracting, Verhoef Electric, and Zwart Systems – to get the new greenhouse up and running.
As for their primary site in Burford, their team has made significant and intentional retrofits to the facility over the past two years.
“One of the biggest impacts is going to be maintaining that quality of product [going] out the door,” says Stephanie. “We want to ensure that there’s no difference in our product lines [whether] it’s being grown in the most recently built zones of our greenhouse to the most historic areas.” Planning ahead, Slaman’s has spent the last few years identifying the parts and processes needed to ensure consistent quality within and between their facilities.
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