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Essex County greenhouse awards revealed

Who has the hottest tomato and coolest cucumber?

R.E.A.CH. International brought back its annual Greenhouse Competitions for 2021 and has announced the Essex County winners.

The competitions have celebrated Ontario’s Essex County as home to the largest greenhouse industry in North America since its debut in 2007, with a hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every year this event draws a lot of local attention with the grower base,” said Nature Fresh director of Sales Matt Quiring. “This year’s event presented us with a clean sweep on the Bite-Sized Tomato Category taking home 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in one of the most highly sought-after tomato categories.”

Competitions are separated by crop, including “The Hottest Tomato,”  “The Perfect Pepper,” “The Coolest Cucumber” and the “Sweetest Strawberry,” with more specific categories within each one.

Best overall winners:

  •  Tomato: Umami bite-sized tomato by Nature Fresh Farms
  •  Strawberry: Dreamberry by Sunset/Mastronardi Produce
  •  Pepper: Rustico sweet long pepper by Mucci Farms
  •  Sunset Mini Seedless cucumber by Sunset/Mastronardi Produce

The competitions were redesigned this year to be contactless, to protect the contestants, volunteers, and judges amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Produce was delivered to 30 judges across Essex County, including members of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs, grocery store produce managers, Culinary Guild of Windsor chefs, and others.

The awards ceremony was broadcasted as a live stream on Friday, June 11.

Organizers say this year’s event will sponsor another 50 children and teens to attend school, meet medical, clothing, or housing needs in Uganda, Africa.

For the complete list of winners including second and third places, visit

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