Fruit and vegetable growers elect new leadership

News release

Fruit and vegetable growers elect new leadership
Charles Stevens becomes Chair, Shawn Brenn is Vice Chair

For immediate release

Guelph ON 23 February 2022 – Charles Stevens, an apple grower from the Newcastle area east of Toronto, is the new Chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (OFVGA). Potato grower Shawn Brenn of Waterdown assumes the role of Vice Chair. Both growers were elected to their new positions at the 163rd OFVGA annual general meeting, held virtually on February 22. 

“This is a pivotal time for the Ontario fruit and vegetable sector as we continue to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and growers face many challenges, particularly with respect to labour, crop protection and the environment,” says Stevens. “I’m looking forward to continuing the good work this organization has been doing and making sure the issues that matter to growers are being heard by government - especially as we head into a provincial election later this spring.”

Stevens owns and operates Wilmot Orchards with his wife Judi and daughter Courtney, growing apples and pick your own blueberries. He’s also Past Chair of the Ontario Apple Growers and a recipient of the Golden Apple Award, which is given annually to a grower who has made outstanding contributions to the Ontario apple industry. 

After three years as Vice Chair, Stevens takes over leadership of the OFVGA from grape grower Bill George. At the same time, Stevens is stepping down from his long-running role as Chair of the OFVGA Crop Protection section; fellow apple grower Brian Rideout has been elected as the new crop protection chair.

Also new to the OFVGA board are Quinton Woods, representing fresh muck vegetable growers; Morris Gervais from Berry Growers of Ontario, Matthias Oppenlaender from Grape Growers of Ontario, and Joann Chechalk, who represents other fresh vegetable growers. Stepping down from their director positions are John Hambly, Norm Charbonneau, Bill George and Kenny Forth. 

The OFVGA’s newly elected Management Committee consists of Charles Stevens, Shawn Brenn, Matthias Oppenlaender, tender fruit grower Fred Meyers, and asparagus grower Mike Chromczak, who is also Chair of the Safety Nets section. 

Also serving on the board are George Gilvesy (greenhouse), Jan VanderHout (greenhouse and Environment and Conservation section chair), Glen Gilvesy (ginseng), Brian Gilroy (Energy, Property, Infrastructure and Food Safety section chair), Ron VanDamme (processing vegetables) and Ken Forth (Labour section chair). 

The OFVGA is the voice of Ontario’s 3,500 fruit and vegetable farmers on issues affecting the horticulture sector. The sector grows produce in fields and greenhouses across the province for fresh and processed consumption. Visit, or follow @OntFruitVeg on Twitter or on Facebook at


For more information: 

Charles Stevens, Chair, 905-259-5279 or
Alison Robertson, Executive Director, 519-827-5716 or