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Growtec Expansion in Canada is Good News for All North American Greenhouse and Hydroponic Growers
April 26, 2023 in Features
By Adrian White, Writer & Framer
The success of growers depends on both knowledge and experience. That’s where Growtec comes in.
The success of hydroponic, greenhouse, and other CEA (Controlled Environment Agriculture) growers depends on both knowledge and experience. It also relies on the best technology and quality hardware available to achieve these ends. That’s where Growtec—an agriculture tech company blossoming in the epicenter of Canada’s CEA economy in Ontario— comes in.
Though relatively new in its formation, Growtec is helmed by horticultural tech professionals with a quarter century’s worth of experience on indoor growing technology. Specializing in indoor growing technology such as gutter systems, irrigation supplies, and more, Growtec, while partnering with MJ-Tech Fog Systems, brings supreme growing capabilities across all facets.
Freddy Sarkis is President of Growtec, himself hailing from Leamington, Ontario and not far from where most of Canada’s indoor horticultural operations are based. So far, he and Growtec’s portfolio includes projects for well-known hydroponic greenhouse names such as Great Northern Hydroponics, Double Diamond Acres Limited and Hacienda North Farms Inc.
In the past Sarkis has acknowledged the importance of pairing certain growing technologies. “We have a strong partnership with MJ-Tech [for high pressure fog systems], who has over 20 years’ experience,” says Sarkis. He adds that, together with the horticultural tech supplies Growtec is specialized in, “our partnership helps provide an all-encompassing solution.”
Right now, Growtec is using that tech and partnership to shake up Ontario’s global presence and economic power, in terms of enabling Canadian companies to grow high-density greenhouse crops for the world market— all while empowering and connecting the businesses that grow them. The company does not discriminate, Growtec is just as excited to bring their CEA ag tech to small growers as it is to the classic indoor megafarm.
This includes one of their latest clients, strawberry producers TamBerry Farms of Chatham-Kent, Ontario: converting a 6-hectare greenhouse specialized for pepper production into strawberry production. This is no simple task.
Growtec also supplied a combination of fixed and 2LEVEL systems in the other 5-hectares of open field tunnels to maximize the number of plants per acre— plus brackets, rolling gutters, and drip irrigation. “TamBerry supplied the open field tunnels,” says Sarkis, “and Growtec supplied fixed and 2LEVEL systems for the tunnels, which are plastic tunnel greenhouses.”
“Growtec were able to work with any idea and make it a reality,” say Hilco Tamminga and Josh Tamminga, the owners, and operators of TamBerry Farms. “Their team made our tight deadline possible with a heightened attention to detail and secondary options and solutions. We are now entering spring with a wonderful crop.”
However, Growtec’s role in the advancement of CEA is expanding beyond Canada and Ontario’s borders. Their next big projects are reaching down into the U.S., notably with Growtec’s longstanding yet steadily growing relationship with Nature Fresh FarmsTM in Northwest Ohio. Says Sarkis of the relationship, “When we were contacted by Nature Fresh Farms, we knew we would need to learn more about their upcoming project. Together, we worked within their Discovery Center, based in their Leamington, ON facilities, where we gathered data and knowledge to determine which system would best service Nature Fresh Farms’ needs in their new Organic Strawberry greenhouse expansion at their Ohio facility.”
This collaboration led to the design of North America’s largest single built Organic Strawberry greenhouse, which will provide 45 acres of strawberry production in time for planting season Summer 2023. “Nature Fresh Farms, which has over 250 acres of high-tech greenhouses across North America, will be doing a 2LEVEL swing system on all 45 acres at the new Ohio expansion,” adds Sarkis, stating this will achieve the optimal planting density the company seeks.
During their development phase, Growtec and Nature Fresh Farms put out an open invite to the North American CEA community. “[We] put all the different systems to test in the Discovery Center greenhouse with an invite to the CEA community to come and learn,” says John Ketler, President, Nature Fresh Farms. “We wanted to encourage the CEA community to learn, share and gain knowledge; to discuss matters such as getting more yield and lowering plant quality issues, and most importantly encourage cooperation and growth within the industry.”
Growtec aims to bring pioneering and communal spirit to hydroponic greenhouse growers of all sizes and backgrounds, with goals to invest in a more connected and successful international greenhouse community that crosses borders while participating in the world market more advantageously.
One of their visions: to make North American companies even more competitive in the global CEA market. “Bigger companies are saying that our presence in Canada is giving them access to new, creative, innovative ideas,” says Sarkis.
This could certainly make Canadian (and North American) horticulture more competitive worldwide. And, as a fresh young company with 25 years’ technological hydroponic experience, it’s a solid bet to the Canadian market— and other North American markets— that Growtec will be an innovative company making its mark in Ontario, and the world, for a long time.
Adrian White is a farmer, writer, and published author. Her works on agriculture appear in publications such as The Guardian, Civil Eats, Good Housekeeping, Successful Farming, Precision Ag, Global Ag Tech Initiative, and more. She has also written freelance for ag-related clients including ReGrow Ag, Ag Access, Sunkist/Fruit Growers Supply, and others.
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