In the fall of last year, Mucci Farms announced it was nearing completion of a 30-acre bell pepper expansion. The development was driven by rising demand for the commodity, in particular for controlled environment products. “Amongst many factors, we believe the growing demand for bell peppers is mainly related to a heightened focus on healthy eating, a variety of consumption options from raw to salads to creative appetizers, along with a steady growth in at-home cooking over the last few years,” says Cole Mucci, Bell Pepper Operations Manager at Mucci Farms. The company grows multiple sizes, varieties, and colors, offering consumers versatility in their meals as well as a high nutritional value.
Demand for greenhouse-grown bell peppers is high due to lengthy growing seasons that provide consistent quality and supply at scale. “More than ever before, vegetable production is being impacted by inconsistent water supply, weather disruptions, supply chain challenges, and ever-changing regulatory requirements,” Mucci said. In their controlled environment facilities, Mucci Farms is able to grow a premium product that retailers and consumers can depend on. “A lengthy nine-month growing season supplemented by partner growers across the continent helps us meet the demand for more local and regionally grown product throughout the year.”
In cold climate regions, there is year-round demand for bell peppers but a very short growing season for traditional farming. “Our ability to grow under glass for most of the year allows us to reduce dependency on imported product while improving quality and shelf-life due to our proximity to market and modern growing practices.”
Construction of the new bell pepper facility began in late summer 2021 and was completed in early 2022. The 30-acre facility includes an 80,000-square-foot warehouse, which is equipped with state-of-the-art automation to improve sorting, packing, and shipping efficiencies. About nine months after the expansion was completed, the company is halfway through its first harvest out of the new 30-acre glass range. The harvest window is a single crop cycle, which typically begins in March and runs until December. This provides enough time to clean and disinfect the greenhouses before a new crop is planted. Altogether, Mucci Farms currently operates 77 acres (31 ha) of greenhouse-grown bell peppers.
The expansion took place at the company’s headquarters in Kingsville, Ontario. Main areas of distribution include Central and Eastern Canada, the Midwestern United States, and regions east of the Mississippi river down to Florida.
Interested in seeing the construction process? Click below to see a video of the 30-acre expansion from bare land up to full build.