June 12, 2014 4:10 pm

Company looks to grow strawberries year-round in Saskatchewan

Locally grown fresh strawberries may soon be available year-round in Saskatoon once a state-of-the-art facility is built near Calvet.

FRANK PERRY/AFP/GettyImages

SASKATOON – Locally grown fresh strawberries all year long in Saskatoon?

It could happen as soon as this coming winter after Affinor Growers announced a state-of-the-art strawberry growing facility on 240 acres of land near Clavet, Sask.

The goal is not only to produce enough strawberries for the local market, but for all of Canada.

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Affinor said greenhouse will grow eleven-hundred plants in 100 square feet using an innovative vertical design to control precise combinations of light, temperature, water and nutrients using no pesticides and producing zero waste water.

The result, according to company officials, is optimum crop production, product quality and shelf life for the Grade A1 mechanically pollinated strawberries.

So why is the company looking to build the facility in Saskatchewan?

“You get the most sunshine here, there’s lots of natural gas, a lot of wind and the real estate is cheap,” explained Nick Brusatore, executive chairman of the company.

“Economically, it’s the best place for vertical farming in the country.”

The company’s board of directors is expected to approve the deal next week and production is expected to start within six months.

The estimated cost to build the facility is $1.6 million.

Affinor eventually plans to expand into romaine lettuce, spinach, kale and herbs in its environmentally friendly greenhouses.

It has also applied for a licence to grow medical marijuana in B.C. and Brusatore said it will apply for one in Saskatchewan as well if there is demand.

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