The Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA) honoured individuals in the industry who have helped to promote and grow the sector.
Award recipients were recognized during the OPMA's Virtual Awards Ceremony, held November 19, 2020.
Peter Quiring of Nature Fresh Farms, received the Cory Clack-Streef Produce Person of the Year award, which recognizes individuals who work to improve the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Quiring was recognized for his efforts to supply consumers with fresh, local produce and pushing for more retail space for Ontario grown produce.
Tom Heeman of the Berry Growers of Ontario was recognized with the OMPA Fresh Award for his leadership role in the industry. The award is presented to a young individual who demonstrates "a fervent determination to improve the quality, distribution or consumption of fruits and vegetables marketed within or outside of Ontario during 2020."
Michelle Broom, president of the OPMA says that "during a time of so much uncertainty, these two resilient award recipients have worked hard to improve the state of our industry and maintain the integrity of the supply chain through innovation and hard work.”
Joe Sbrocchi from the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) received the OPMA Outstanding Achievement Award, presented to an individual or organization that has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the produce industry. He was recognized for his efforts to push the provincial and federal governments on issues such as labour disruption and market access.
Gord Love from the North American Produce Buyers was presented with the OPMA Lifetime Achievement Award for his many years of service to the produce industry. He is a founding director of the OPMA and has been instrumental to the growth of the association and to mentoring new board members. He has helped steer the organization in its current direction. Even though he has now retired from the board, he continues to volunteer his time to the OPMA.
Vince Pillitteri from Seaway Farms was the second recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been active in the Niagara Tender Fruit industry since 1970 and has dedicated his life to growing and improving the Ontario produce industry.
OPMA chair, Houman Madani, says “these individuals are the definition of hard work and true dedication. They have helped shape the Ontario produce industry into what we know it as today. I would like to congratulate them on such an amazing achievement.”