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
Using ultrasound on cattle to identify carcass characteristics is helping beef farmers maximize their profitability.
A project led by Beef Improvement Opportunities (BIO) has shown that ultrasound technology can accurately predict specific carcass characteristics, such as weight, back fat and marbling, which directly affect how much a producer is paid for an animal.
Continue reading Ultrasound helps beef farmers make better marketing decisions
Winemaking and farming aren’t two things most people associate with Muskoka.
Yet fruit wines and an iconic fall holiday berry are helping farmer Murray Johnston and his wife Wendy Hogarth put their family business on the map.
The couple, with help from their four sons, run Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh and Muskoka Lakes Winery near Bala, where they grow 27 acres of cranberries and produce a range of wines using locally grown fruit.
Most people think they know how cranberries are grown and harvested, says Wendy, but what they’ve seen in television advertising doesn’t paint an accurate picture. Continue reading Producing wine and cranberries in cottage country
An exotic houseplant with pink flowers is turning heads across North America and creating jobs in the Niagara region.
The plant, named Medinilla Magnifica, is helping to expand operations and open up new markets for Ted Oorsprong’s Northend Gardens.
Thanks to some support from Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, Oorsprong is selling the plant in chain stores and garden centres across Ontario, the Northeastern United States, British Columbia, Alberta, Washington and Texas. Continue reading Locally grown exotic plant opens new markets, creates jobs
A new approach to labelling a locally produced soybutter is making it easier to use in Ontario’s peanut-free schools.
The toasted soy spread looks and tastes so much like peanut butter that some schools weren’t allowing it, says Scott Mahon, President of WOWBUTTER Foods, a family-owned business in the Stratford area.
To address this challenge, the company has introduced a new peel-off label with individual “Made with WOWBUTTER” stickers underneath that can be applied to school lunch containers identifying their peanut-free status.
It’s a unique system that has just won WOWBUTTER Foods a Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.
Continue reading New label makes soybutter safe solution for peanut-free schools
New food service marketing program expands markets for Ontario foods
If you build it, they will come.
That’s the thinking behind a new marketing program being used by Gordon Food Service (GFS), Ontario’s largest family-owned food service distributor – expanding and promoting their offering of Ontario food products by making it easy for their customers to identify and buy local food.
Earlier this year, the company was the recipient of a grant from the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund, a partnership between the Greenbelt Fund and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) that aims to increase the amount of Ontario foods purchased through municipal, school, university and hospital food service settings. Continue reading Local food made easy
Montforte cheese sampler
The story of Ruth Klahsen and her dairy are well-known in Ontario’s local food world.
Montforte Dairy has a loyal – and growing – following of fans devoted to the agricultural values it espouses and the cheeses it produces.
So devoted, in fact, that they have raised about half a million dollars as members of a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) project to help Montforte find a new home when an expired lease on its previous location in Millbank left the dairy suddenly homeless.
I had the chance to visit Montforte’s brand new facility in Stratford earlier this month as part of a food writer tour in Perth County and listen to Ruth talk about her business and her passion for making truly outstanding cheese.
Oh, and sample some of the delicious cheeses too. They were rich in flavour and a real pleasure to taste…but back to the story of the dairy. Continue reading Monforte’s local cheese renaissance