SOURCE Magazine Summer 2022 July 2022 - Page 7

SOURCE | Summer 2022 5 workers that keeps coming back for each harvest season . This year , he has four Mennonite families who are based out of Mexico , many of whom have worked here before . In addition , Fysh employs about a dozen workers from Jamaica , who work in Canada from April until about Christmas , and then head back to their home country .
“ Once they are done harvesting here , they ’ ll then move on to other crops this summer , and continue right through the fall with other farms throughout the area ,” he says .
Fysh says even with the crews out there , it ’ s still not enough to harvest and get all of the crop ready in time . In fact , finding workers has been the hardest part of the operation for the last few years . The COVID restrictions in Canada hindered a lot of workers starting in 2020 , and Fysh says it ’ s impossible to find people from Ontario who would be willing to do what ’ s still a very manual harvesting job .
“ They are out here for 12 hours a day during the harvest , and it ’ s all cutting by hand ,” Fysh adds . “ I tried to recruit and train some local workers a while back and they only stayed for a few hours before deciding it wasn ’ t for them .”
So Fysh and other farmers in the area work together to pay for housing , travel expenses , and necessary visa paperwork for the workers who are willing to come from other countries . And those workers who aren ’ t harvesting in the field are keeping busy cleaning , sorting , and boxing up the freshly picked asparagus for its trip to the grocery store . The operation inside works at a frantic pace , with generations of Mennonite families working to ensure quality control as the asparagus speeds along the grading machine .
“ The consumer is very picky when it comes to asparagus , so we have to ensure that each stalk is straight and there is no seeding ,” says Fysh .
Continued on next page ...