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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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Pilot school program uses Ontario produce to raise funds, promote healthy eating

Fresh from the Farm logoIt’s a new initiative that’s a win for farmers, students and healthy eating.

Fresh from the Farm is a pilot program being launched this fall in select school boards that will let students fundraise for their schools by selling Ontario fruits and vegetables.

Modeled after a similar program in Manitoba, the Ontario initiative is a partnership between the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF), Ministry of Education, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (OFVGA) and Dietitians of Canada. Continue reading Pilot school program uses Ontario produce to raise funds, promote healthy eating

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Inside an Ontario vegetable greenhouse

BLhavBBCIAEfxa-.jpg largeOntario greenhouse vegetables – specifically cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers – are one of our largest local produce crops and one that we an enjoy almost all year round.

Most of the vegetable greenhouses are centered in the Leamington and Niagara areas.

Earlier this spring I was able to tour one of these operations Flamborough area : Beverly Greenhouses, where brothers Jan and Dale VanderHout grow 22 acres of English cucumbers. Continue reading Inside an Ontario vegetable greenhouse

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Returning land to its original state builds habitat, improves water quality

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The Hutton family in front of their reconstructed wetland.

They say you can’t turn back time.

Yet Wellington County landowner Daryl Hutton has done just that by turning an old pasture on his farm near Harriston back into a wetland.

And in doing so, he is helping improve water quality and increase wildlife habitat in his community. Continue reading Returning land to its original state builds habitat, improves water quality

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Innovations protect fruit crops against weather, predator damage

A Life’s Work - Charles Stevens 2013

Charles Stevens in his orchard. Photo by Courtney Stevens.

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 frost – and to Mother Nature to help keep his blueberries safe from hungry wildlife. Continue reading Innovations protect fruit crops against weather, predator damage

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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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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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