Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sad news for Fans of Whiskey Creek Tomatoes

Just two issues ago, we brought you new of this fantastic greenhouse we had "discovered" just south of Calgary, Whiskey Creek Greenhouse. Carmen and Greg Ditzler grew the most amazing vine-ripened tomatoes we have ever tasted. But apparently, quality doesn't pay (or get adequately paid, as the explain on their web site goes). The Ditzlers are shutting down operations at the end of this month.

But why? This is the question on everyone's lips who has tasted the incredible tomatoes, sprouts and lettuces from Whiskey Creek. Carmen has posted the family's reasons on their web site and we're posting them here. Even though Alberta has come a long way in the past few years in supporting quality local foods, it is apparent that we still have a ways to go to keep good people like the Ditzlers in business.

Excerpt from

The reality (hard as it is to swallow) is that growing great food is not good enough.

Input costs such as natural gas, electricity, fertilizer, biologicals, plastic, cardboard, delivery fuel, insurance, …… have all increased. We are small and do not have the economies of scale of large greenhouses. We have not been able to raise our prices enough to cover our costs.

We have increased our efficiency and production but now can not sell our whole crop.

There are very few grocery stores that are allowed by their own policies, to buy from a local grower.

Cheap, lower quality, imported food is still more attractive to many consumers than higher priced, high quality, local food.

We do not have enough hours in our days to grow our crop and sell all of it directly to customers. There is one local year round Farmer’s Market that we are not allowed into.

We wish to use less fossil fuels in our life and decrease our greenhouse gas output, but we have no more capital to convert to an acceptable energy source.

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