The ongoing romaine lettuce contamination scare in Canada has at least one local farmer encouraging Islanders to seek out local produce. “The more … we can know about where our food comes from, [the more] we can feel confident that it’s safe, more nutritious, fresher and - of course - we can support our local community, local economy,” said Spring Valley farmer Marc Schurman.
Schurman mostly grows tomatoes and cucumbers for stores around the Maritimes, but he has a section in his greenhouses set aside for leafy greens. He grows around 50 lbs of lettuce a week this time of year, in the summer he ups production to around 120 lbs.
In Canada, as of Nov. 23, there have been 22 confirmed cases of E. coli illnesses traced to romaine lettuce. People became sick after eating romaine at home, as well as in prepared salads purchased at grocery stores, restaurants and fast food chains.
Most of the romaine sold in Canada this time of year is from the U.S. or Mexico. But, like Schurman, some Canadian growers grow leafy greens in green houses for local markets. “The romaine in question is coming through from, presumably, large farms in California through the supply chain,” Schurman told journalpioneer.com.
“When people bring it home, they maybe don’t remember what it said on the bag, but if they buy it from us, they know exactly where it came from and we know we haven’t had the kind of problems that some of this other lettuce had.”