Consumer Media

OPMA News Releases

  • Produce Associations distribute over 1,200 boxes of fresh produce to Ontario Families

    Toronto, ON – December 20, 2021 – The Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA) in partnership with the Toronto Wholesale Produce Association (TWPA) distributed over 1,200 boxes of 18kg of fresh produce to people in need across Ontario. The boxes were packed by 40 volunteers on Saturday, December 18, 2021, at the Ontario Food Terminal.   “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused greater food insecurity, so we are pleased to be able to continue the initiative this year. The hampers, which will be delivered to food banks across Ontario, contain enough fruit, nuts, and vegetables, for a family of two adults and two children for an entire week,” states Michelle Broom, OPMA President.   Utilizing a combination of rented equipment, donated services of a Northern Ontario grower, and a province-wide wholesale produce distributor, and a team of packing volunteers, the produce hampers will be delivered to 15 different organizations including a First Nations Community, which is located 1,150 kilometres north of Toronto.   According Jasmin Dooh of LAMP Community Health Centre, “We will be able to help to fight hunger this holiday season with the produce hampers from the Ontario Produce Marketing Association and the Toronto Wholesale Produce Association.  The local LAMP community will get fresh fruit and veggies to feed their families. We’re thankful for this generous gift.”   “This year, we were able to overcome one of the program’s biggest challenges, which has been collecting and storing over 1000 empty banana boxes to pack the produce hampers. We are happy to say that for the first time, we have boxes specifically designed for this purpose, thanks to the team at Cascades,” said Fred Koornneef, TWPA President.   Since 1990, more than 30,000 Ontario families have benefited from the OPMA/TWPA Christmas Foodshare.   About the Ontario Produce Marketing Association: The Ontario Produce Marketing Association is a member-funded, not for profit organization whose mission is to connect people and information from field to plate.   About the Toronto Wholesale Produce Association: The Toronto Wholesale Produce Association represents the warehouse tenants at the Ontario Food Terminal, Canada’s largest wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower market. -30- For more information contact: Rochelle Roye Marketing and Communications Manager, OPMA rochelle@theopma.ca    

  • OPMA Highlights Excellence in Ontario Produce Industry at 2021 Virtual Awards Ceremony

    Toronto, ON – December 3, 2021 – The Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA) recognized excellence in the Ontario produce industry at its Virtual Awards Ceremony last night. The OPMA presented four premier Ontario produce industry awards and for the first time, recognized Produce Heroes at the awards ceremony. The Cory Clack-Streef Produce Person of the Year Award highlights individuals who work tirelessly to improve the consumption of fresh produce through innovation and hard work. The 2021 award went to Kim Chackal from Equifruit who has made strides in helping consumers to digest the topic of Fairtrade, through the rebranding of Equifruit. She was also instrumental in Equifruit’s partnership with Longo Brothers Fruit Markets to launch the first 100% Fairtrade banana program in North America. Kim’s efforts have helped to grow market share for Fairtrade bananas by 62% in 2021. The OPMA Fresh Award is presented to a young individual in the produce industry that has demonstrated passion, spirit and dedication towards the industry. This year’s recipient of the Fresh Award is Michael Miranda from Farm Boy. He is an up-and-coming leader in the produce industry. Michael is currently the Chair of the OPMA’s Young Professionals Network and was recently promoted to Category Manager at Farm Boy. The OPMA Outstanding Achievement Award is presented to an individual or organization that has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the produce industry through their efforts to improve the quality and distribution of fruits and vegetables. The 2021 award was presented to Mimmo Franzone from Longo Brothers Fruit Markets. He played a significant role in converting Longo’s organic banana offering to organic-Fairtrade in May 2021. Mimmo has established Longo’s as a leader in sustainability through its partnership with Equifruit and continues to drive initiatives that create positive change. The OPMA Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has dedicated many years to improving the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Ray Wowryk was honoured with this year’s award, as he is a leader not only within Nature Fresh Farms but across the produce industry. Having been a part of the industry over the past 40 years, Ray has worked in every level of produce from warehouse-labour to sales and procurement, to fresh imports and exports. Ray is a force in the industry, sharing his knowledge and experiences while mentoring young individuals through programs like Passion for Produce. The OPMA also introduced a new category ‘Produce Hero’ at this year’s ceremony. “We felt it was important to recognize some of the many people who do that little bit extra everyday. They may not be senior managers or CEOs, but they are vital to our industry. It’s great to be able to let everyone know what a great job these people do everyday,” explained Steve Dimen, OPMA Chair. The Produce Heroes recognized at the awards ceremony for making OPMA’s Christmas Hamper donations possible were Irene Cloherty and Derek Comfort from Gambles Transport Team; Quinton Woods from Gwillimdale Farms; and Daniel Spiegelman. Produce Heroes from across the industry also recognized were Rita Galardo from North American Produce Buyers; Tony Deodato & Sons; Amber Reinhart from Nature Fresh Farms; Nick Van Berlo from Berlo’s Best; and The Wonderful Merchandising Team. “The OPMA continues to host this prestigious event to acknowledge individuals and companies across the produce industry who have persevered and excelled despite the challenges. Congratulations to all the award winners and nominees. We are happy to be able to celebrate another successful year as an industry,” said Michelle Broom, OPMA President. Part proceeds from the event will be donated to Student Nutrition Ontario to bring fresh produce into schools across the province, as part of their meal and snack program. About the Ontario Produce Marketing Association: The Ontario Produce Marketing Association is a member-funded, not for profit organization whose mission is to connect people and information from field to plate. -30- For more information contact: Rochelle Roye Marketing and Communications Manager, OPMA rochelle@theopma.ca

  • Joint Statement from North America’s Fresh Produce Industry on Supply Chain Disruptions

    November 4, 2021 – On behalf of North America’s fresh produce industry, national and regional associations have released a joint statement calling for urgent government action to address significant ongoing supply chain disruptions impacting our food systems, economies, and ultimately individuals and families across the continent and worldwide.  Produce challenges are amplified by the perishable nature of fresh fruits and vegetables and the very real potential that increased food insecurity could result from a failure to address the disruptions noted below.  The signatories noted: Almost two years since the start of the pandemic, substantial increases in costs and delays along the supply chain threaten our food security and the long-term economic viability of the North American fresh produce sector. Examples of ongoing supply chain disruptions include: Crippling port congestion Delays and exploding costs in container shipping Cascading effects of inconsistent product delivery Continuing labour shortages Growing input shortages Stockpiling of product by consumers  We cannot emphasize strongly enough the need for our governments to work together to address these issues in a multi-lateral and holistic manner. The examples outlined above clearly demonstrate the complexity, interconnectedness and dependencies of our supply chain and the challenges we face. It is imperative that governments work urgently with all parts of the supply chain to mitigate the serious threats of food insecurity and food shortages. These multi-faceted problems will not be resolved overnight and delays in course correction are likely to compound and further complicate the situation. Simply put, without multilateral engagement to find solutions, these issues will create long lasting impacts to the detriment of all North American economies. Our organizations stand ready to work with governments and partners throughout the supply chain to ensure a path forward that enables the continued flow of our essential goods. The Joint Statement will form the basis for advocacy and outreach to address disruptions and has already been submitted to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee hearing on The Immediate Challenges to our Nation’s Food Supply Chain.  In Canada it was submitted to the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Agriculture first ministers meeting scheduled for November 8 – 10. This is a starting point for industry engagement which will continue to evolve. Read the full statement here. Media inquiries may be directed to any of the organizations listed in the full statement. – 30 –    

Market Research

Ontario contributes over one third of Canada’s total fruit and vegetable production, contributing more than $4.2 billion and over 66,000 jobs to the economy. Approximately 43% of this value is field grown and 57% produced in greenhouse operations....Continue Reading

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Produce Made Simple 

Produce Made Simple is a highly-successful consumer facing platform. It features an extensive website filled with recipes and knowledge. The brand is active across multiple social media channels with the goal of encouraging millions of Canadians to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables every day. In addition, under the Produce made Simple banner, the OPMA runs events to promote produce through an “ambassador partnership” featuring 10 inspirational social media influencers. In 2020 alone, the program garnered over 20 million impressions and had a total reach of 100,000 followers.

Produce Made Simple

OPMA in the Community

OPMA Christmas Foodshare

 
 

For the past 30 years, the OPMA, and it’s partners have worked together to procure, pack and deliver thousands of fresh fruit and vegetable boxes to families across the province.

Student Nutrition Ontario 
 

studentnutritionontario.ca

The OPMA’s partnership with SNO helps to nourish thousands of students from across the province by helping them gain access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Toronto Foundation for Student Success

tfss.ca

The OPMA’s partnership with TFSS fosters healthy eating habits and cooking skills among school aged children by contributing to their knowledge of the produce industry and helping them procure fresh fruits and vegetables for their after-school programs including the Junior Chef program.

Freggie 

Meet Freggie, the produce mascot! Contact our team at info@theopma.ca to find out how you can rent a Freggie costume to complement your program’s food nutrition activities.