growing crops

Behind the scenes on a large Ontario farm

I suppose some might consider what I visited several weeks ago a “factory farm”. I’ve yet to actually meet someone who could give me a clear definition of what that term means when I’ve asked, but at first glance, the farm fits many of the notions people often tend to associate with that expression: a […]

Read More

Certified hay protects endangered birds

Many of Ontario’s species at risk – such as grassland birds – make their homes in farmers’ fields. In honour of Earth Day this week, here’s a glimpse at a program that lets rural landowners do their part to protect those species. Attempts to protect habitats for grassland birds can be a hard sell to […]

Read More

Ontario farm meeting rising demand for locally grown edamame

Demand for edamame, a type of soybean popular in Asia as a snack and vegetable dish, is growing in North America. Most edamame sold here, however, is imported – something that a local Ontario farm family is working hard to change. MacKellar Farms, near the southwestern Ontario town of Alvinston, is Canada’s only commercial supplier […]

Read More

Innovations protect fruit crops against weather, predator damage

Newcastle – Damaging weather and predators can mean the difference between a good year and a bad one on the farm. No one knows that better than Charles Stevens, who grows apples and blueberries on his farm near Newcastle, east of Toronto. He’s turned to technology and innovation to protect his apples against hail and […]

Read More

Young farmers reach out to consumers

A group of young farmers has taken to social media to share with Canadians how they produce food and two fruit and vegetable growers are right in the thick of it. Erin McLean, whose family runs a pick-your-own berry operation near Peterborough and serves farmers’ markets and local grocers with fresh fruits and vegetables, and […]

Read More

Keeping birds away from wine grapes

Automating the acoustical devices that keep birds away from grape crops in Ontario’s vineyards could improve the effectiveness and efficiency of these tools. Better management options for the devices – also known as bird bangers – can reduce crop losses and improve relations with non-farm neighbours put off by the noise, according to a recently […]

Read More

Tobacco plants may save lives

I get to learn about some pretty neat things in my life as someone who writes about food and farming. The following story, which was released by the Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre a few weeks ago, ranks high on my list of all-time favourites. PlantForm Corporation, a University of Guelph spin-off company, is using tobacco plants […]

Read More

Growing plants for energy

Biomass is a promising emerging market in Ontario and farmers can learn more about growing and making money from these purpose-grown crops on a series of upcoming regional car tours. The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) also showcased miscanthus (seen in the image at left) and switchgrass test plots at Canada’s Outdoor Farm […]

Read More

New crops in local soils raising high hopes

Lavender, hazelnuts and sweet potatoes are not crops we commonly associate with this province. Yet they’re starting to emerge in Ontario’s south coast area, the fertile sand plains in Norfolk, Brant, Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford counties where tobacco used to reign supreme. As the decline of the tobacco industry continued over the last decade, agricultural […]

Read More

The farm labour side of local food

Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak announced this spring that, if elected, he’d make convicted provincial prisoners work to clean up Ontario’s highways. According to a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a variation on this theme was recently launched in Georgia, where teams of probationers are working on fruit and vegetable farms. Many farm workers there […]

Read More

Where potato chips are grown

Mmm, there’s nothing quite like cracking open a bag of fresh, crunchy potato chips. I confess to consuming more than my fair share of the salty snacks over the years and love seeing what new flavours will be coming out next. But one thing I’ve certainly never really thought too much about was how the […]

Read More