Crazy for Cucumbers!
Cucumbers were among the very first produce items Canam Fresh farms and always near and dear to our heart. Discover more about Canam Fresh slicing (field) and pickling cucumbers!
Canam Fresh made our name growing peppers. But not long after our bell peppers took off, we went crazy for cucumbers. As one of the biggest names in cucumbers in North America, we have a real love affair with this produce item.
The natural deliciousness of cucumbers made us swoon. Did you know that eating a cucumber gives you almost all the vitamins you need in a single day? And then there’s the flavor. In a salad or as a snack, expect deliciousness in every bite.
Just like our pepper crop, we grew our cucumber harvest with careful seed selection, optimal growing conditions, and great packaging options for our clients. With a healthy dose of great people working together, Canam delivers. We do as we say and say as we do to achieve our goals.
We aren’t the only ones with a crush on cucumbers. This versatile crop has been cultivated for more than 3,000 years, beginning in India. Their popularity spread throughout Europe and eventually, Columbus brought cucumber vines on his journey to North America.
After such a long, globe-trotting journey, it’s no surprise that there are at least 100 different varieties of cucumbers today. Different flavors, textures, shapes, sizes, with or without seeds, pickling or slicing—all tantalizing options. Deciding which varieties to grow involve cost benefit analysis based on our client’s needs, the climate, and characteristics of the cucumber. Choosing which seeds to use for each variety is part of the Canam Fresh difference.
Our successful Ontario cucumber harvest couldn’t meet the growing demand. The short growing season motivated our expansion to warmer climates, and Culiacan, Mexico made the ideal location.
In Mexico, the conventional (with seeds) Supremo variety ruled. Our team wanted to explore the possibility of using a parthinocarpic seed. These “parth” seeds produce seedless cucumbers, don’t require pollination, and are more resistant to disease with a longer growing cycle. We tested a range of Rijk Zwann parth seeds and identified three to four optimal varieties based on the region’s soil, heat units, and temperature.
Conventional cucumbers are more fragile, with skin that bruises and nicks easily, resulting in more waste and lower yields. Combined with a dwindling bee population, we embraced thinking outside the box.
Switching to parth seeds represented a game changer for Canam Fresh. By taking bees out of the equation, we removed a critical variable beyond our control. The resulting cucumbers had thicker skins, leading to less waste, and higher yields. Canam Fresh’s move to parth seeds got noticed. Now, the entire Mexican cucumber industry uses parth seeds, as does our entire Ontario crop.
Changing to parth seeds was the first step. Changing our farming practices was the second. Despite thicker skins, parth-seed cucumbers need more tender loving care. Canam nurtures our cucumber harvest in several ways. We use drip irrigation instead of standard overhead irrigation, complemented sometimes by plastic mulch. Drip delivers nourishment directly to the plant roots, while using less water, giving our farmers more control, and resulting in healthier plants.
The results are powerful. Canam Fresh innovations extend the lifecycle to six to eight weeks, compared to four to five weeks for the standard approach. Canam Fresh’s machine harvest typically yields six to eight cucumbers per conventional set, while standard farming practices typically yield one to two.
Parth seed cucumbers don’t just lead the way in the fields—they standout in the produce aisle or when transformed into sweet or dill pickles. Conventional fresh-market cucumbers have a shelf life of seven to 10 days, while parth seed cucumbers retain their freshness for 15-20 days.
In terms of packing options, retailers love the range of standard and custom packaging options we provide. And we continuously explore new ways to preserve and deliver the wholesome goodness of cucumbers to our retail and processing partners.
From humble beginnings, we increased our cucumber harvest by 200 percent in the past three years to a whopping 1.5 million bushels. And we’re not stopping there. Our expansion of cucumber fields in the Yucatan Peninsula takes advantage of the warmer average daytime and nighttime temperatures and lower humidity. Easy access to ocean-going ships means lower-cost delivery to food distribution and processing centers in Panama City, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, and Newark.