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Ontario farm meeting rising demand for locally grown edamame

Jacob holding a bag of frozen edamameDemand 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 of edamame using a locally grown crop. Continue reading Ontario farm meeting rising demand for locally grown edamame

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Focus on reducing food waste, not just boosting production

Note: This commentary was originally published in Ontario Farmer, June 25, 2013 edition.

June 5th was World Environment Day. I don’t normally pay much attention to these kinds of things – we seem to have a day for everything – but this one got me.

The theme of World Environment Day this year was food waste. Continue reading Focus on reducing food waste, not just boosting production

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Ontario dairy goat farmers win innovation awards

Kevin & Cindy Hope with daughter Mackenzie

Kevin and Cindy Hope, with daughter Mackenzie, receive their County of Peterborough award.

Cindy and Kevin Hope always knew they wanted to create their own branded line of dairy goat products and goat meat right on their farm some day.

What they didn’t know was that their efforts to build sustainability into their farming business would net them two prestigious awards.

Cross Wind Farm was the recipient of a 2013 County of Peterborough Recognition Award as well as a Premier’s Award of Excellence for Agri-food Innovation Excellence in 2012.

Continue reading Ontario dairy goat farmers win innovation awards

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What farmers can learn from Chris Hadfield

Commander Chris Hadfield returned to earth last month as Canada’s latest national hero.

He’s the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, helped conduct a record-breaking 130 experiments in space and even presided over a last-minute spacewalk by two fellow astronauts to fix an ammonia leak on the station a few days before he was due to return to Earth.

In addition to all that, he allowed Canadians – and indeed people around the world – to follow him on this remarkable journey.

Like no other astronaut before him, Hadfield has given those of us on earth a glimpse of what it’s like to live in space, something many dream about doing but few are ever lucky enough to experience in real life. Continue reading What farmers can learn from Chris Hadfield

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University competition helped launch Ontario soy food business

YoSo Flamaglo foods

Brothers Erik and Francis Lo at their Cambridge, Ontario production facility. Photo courtesy of Francis Lo.

A growing Ontario soy food manufacturer can trace its roots back to an entry into a student competition at the University of Guelph 15 years ago.

Brothers Erik and Francis Lo entered a soy-based cream cheese alternative into the Project SOY contest in 1998 and although they didn’t win the competition, their company Flamaglo Foods is now recording annual sales of over $1 million.

Flamaglo, under the brand YoSo, sells dairy and gluten-free soy yogurts, gourmet spreads and dips using Ontario-grown soybeans. They’ve also started expanding outside of soy, introducing a line of coconut yogurts last summer.

Most of their products are found in the refrigerated organic or health food sections of major Canadian retail chains, as well as independent health food stores in Ontario and Quebec. Continue reading University competition helped launch Ontario soy food business

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Local processor wins award for allergen-free meat products

Stemmler Boys on Truck

Brothers Kevin (squatting), Terry and Shawn Stemmler of Stemmler Meats and Cheese in Heidelberg, ON.

They built their business on the power of local long before it was popular and their allergen-free meat products are a life-line to many food allergy sufferers.

These efforts have won Waterloo Region’s Stemmler Meats and Cheese a Premier’s Award for Innovation and they’ve also just been named a finalist for a prestigious innovation award from the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. Continue reading Local processor wins award for allergen-free meat products

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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 potato grower Stephanie Kowalski from the Alliston area are part of a recently launched initiative called Dinner Starts Here.

Central to the project is a website called dinnerstartshere.ca, which features blog posts by ten young farmers as well as recipes, answers to frequently-asked farming questions and information about buying local. Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest will be used to share information and bring visitors to the site. Continue reading Young farmers reach out to consumers

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