Erika DeBrouwer was the successful candidate in the competition for Tree Fruit Specialist within the Agriculture Development Branch. She began her new role on January 11, 2021 at the Ontario Crops Research Centre in Simcoe, ON.
Erika holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a Master of Science in Plant Agriculture, both from the University of Guelph. Her Master’s thesis focused on improvement of the shelf life in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples using hexanal, as part of a large-scale international research effort spanning 6 countries and numerous crops. Erika’s research discovered that hexanal has the potential to reduce grower input and cost and increase yields up to 50% by reducing bitter pit and extending postharvest shelf life.
Erika is no stranger to tree fruit production. Erika’s family owns and operates a tree fruit farm in Blenheim. In the past, their peach orchards spanned 53 acres and consisted of four different peach varieties. In recent years, they made the difficult decision to pull out their orchards and shift from production to processing. Her family farm now processes Ontario grown peaches and pears, available at stores across Ontario under the Golden Acres Peach Company brand. Erika developed branding for their product based on consumer appeal research, implemented marketing strategies, established a company website and launched social media engagement for the farm. In 2019, Erika out-competed over 100 other businesses at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and successfully pitched her farm’s jarred peaches for distribution at Metro Inc. Her ability to understand both the grower’s perspective and the business considerations of tree fruit production will be invaluable in her role at OMAFRA.
Most recently, Erika worked as a farm technician at Bayer Crop Sciences in Elora, where she conducted research on product efficacy in horticulture crops and contributed to submissions for the Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Previously, she worked as an Activation Specialist for Climate FieldView, providing support to growers using Climate’s technology for advanced crop data collection. Erika is also a former participant in the Summer Employment Opportunities program, having worked with ADB’s Field Crops Unit in Ridgetown in 2013 and 2014.
Erika can be reached at email@example.com or 226-931-4098.