Recovering from last Saturday's fire

Canada: Producers step up to assist RedHat Co-op

Last Saturday, firefighters from Redcliff, Medicine Hat and Cypress County battled an enormous blaze that raged in the RedHat Co-op vegetable packing giant. But General manager Gillian Digman said they’re hoping to re-open within a matter of weeks. “It amazes me that we're only day three in after the whole thing and we're so far ahead already.”

Entering the height of growing season, all long English and mini-cucumbers that would have gone through RedHat are now being diverted to Big Marble Farms southwest of Medicine Hat. Big Marble Farms CEO Ryan Cramer said with plenty of space at their operation, it just made sense to move packing for the region to their greenhouses. All 280 employees that work out of RedHat will remain employed during the shutdown, with around 40 working the new night shift at Big Marble Farms.

Additional produce that is being picked this week is being taken to coolers at El Dorado Farms to be stored until they can be properly packaged. Just focusing on cucumbers for the next few weeks, all tomatoes that Big Marble Farms usually deal with are being sent to Calgary for packing.

Despite the hectic schedules and the ongoing clean up at RedHat, Digman said there’s been no disruption for getting product out to retailers.

The Medicine Hat and District Food Bank also offered cooler space, and as for the clean-up efforts, Cramer said the growers are taking time to personally help get RedHat back on its feet. It’s those offers of support that’s making all the difference for Digman and the RedHat team.

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