Climate Change Food & Agriculture

Berries in Canada

U.S. fruit sellers look to Canada for berry production amid drought, rising costs: As climate change makes traditional growing areas like California more costly, producers are looking north.

American berry giant Driscoll’s has partnered with Sébastien Dugré, co-owner of Massé Nursery in Saint-Paul-d’Abbotsford, Que., to test whether commercial production of blackberries and raspberries is viable in the province. Quebec’s colder climate can limit berry crops, so growing them on a larger scale is unusual for that part of Canada. Dugré started the trials last year, and was able to harvest almost 80 tonnes of fruit this year.

“There’s definitely a learning curve. Last year was rough, this year is way better, we’ve got better fruit,” he said. Dugré is using dome-like tunnels to protect the plants from rain, while creating a microclimate that is warmer for the plants. It all helps him to start earlier in the spring and end later in the fall, extending the growing season. “There’s big companies interested in doing business in Canada … to me that’s a good opportunity,” said Dugré.

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