Greenhouse production of radishes in Quebec, Canada is getting ready for the winter season. Alex Zenebisis of Eagle Export, Inc./Alcaro Farms is two months into working with the greenhouse grower Les Serres Bertrand in Mirabel, Quebec to ship three varieties of radishes--conventional red radish, the French Breakfast radish and the Easter Egg radish. Les Serres Bertrand has had a bit of a greenhouse journey--it used to grow greenhouse tomatoes but switched to growing marijuana in 2017. However it’s since pivoted back to fresh produce and is now growing products such as these radishes.
The products will be available year-round. “There was already base production being done for chain stores in Quebec and we’re working on developing the rest of Canada and the United States,” says Zenebisis. “It’s in full swing and it has so much greenhouse space available that as the demand and popularity of these radishes increases, it will be able to plant more to meet that demand.”
As for demand, it is just starting to develop. “We’re hoping to introduce these to everybody at the New York Produce Show next month,” Zenebisis says. “In the wintertime, a lot of people have trouble getting radishes. Sometimes the quality out of Mexico and the southern United States is questionable and they have to buy a certain amount to get them from long distances. However because of our proximity and the greenhouse, we can ensure the quality and the smaller quantities.”
He’s also trusting that awareness will grow around the product. “Once people try them and they know that they can get a guaranteed quality throughout the year, it’s going to build up demand,” he says.
The grower-shipper is also unveiling a new packaging style for radishes--a top-sealed package. “Some ship with a ziplock-type bag bag with loose radishes and others have a plastic bag you need to rip open,” he says. However, he says these packages are better for displays in the retail setting.
As for pricing, it’s based on a six-month rotation in that pricing will likely be softer in the spring until fall because greenhouses cost less to operate at that time while in the fall until spring, pricing will be stronger because that’s when greenhouses hit their peak costs.