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From Seed to Store: The Life of a Tomato at Vermillion Growers


March 22, 2021

We often talk about precision agriculture and how producing tomatoes year-round in our state-of-the-art greenhouse will help in our mission of locally growing food, people, and
communities. Our production process is different than traditional farming, so we decided to introduce you to the life of a Vermillion Growers tomato.
The first step is propagation. This refers to the preparation of our tomato-on-the-vine (TOV) seeds as they are sown into plug trays and then germinate under specific conditions.
Once the seedlings are three weeks old, scions, the part of the plant which will eventually produce fruit, are grafted to rootstock and fed nutrients.
The next step is planting, which starts with transferring a plant into the specific grow medium we have chosen, coconut fibre. The unit is attached to a drip irrigation system and
physically supported for vertical growth. The optimum level of beneficial insectssuch as lady bugs, lacewings, and bumble bees, are then released into the growing environment.
For the next few weeks, the plant is in the care stage, where it, and its growing conditions, are continuously monitored. This care includes the scheduling and application of
nutrients, testing water, observation for pests (not the benefical bugs we introduced!) and disease, and pruning.
After approximately 10 weeks, we move into the harvest stage. TOV’s are cut from the plant with the vine still attached and transported directly to the warehouse for grading and
packaging.  Grading each tomato takes into consideration size, texture, shape, colour, and sugar levels or taste, in accordance with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA)
general requirements, as well as the buyer’s own quality control standards. Vermillion Growers will follow the internationally recognized ISO 22000 Food Safety management
standards, which maintains not only safety, but also accountability and traceability.
The final stage, packaging, takes place at our warehouse, where TOV are further graded and then boxed via an automated process. Tomatoes and boxes are labeled and prepared
for distribution. Trucks will arrive at our loading docks, ready to deliver tomatoes from our farm to your tables!
The process is repeated for every single TOV, row by row, throughout the greenhouse, and managed by an experienced team using cutting edge technology. We can’t wait to
demonstrate this process in person to you, but for now, we wanted you to have a good introduction to the delicious fruit we will be proud to grow in Dauphin, Manitoba.