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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Farmer asks public to help save his farm

The biggest challenge for innovators and entrepreneurs is usually money. The same goes for charities, not-for-profits and pretty much anyone who runs a small to medium sized business.

A solution that many opt for these days is crowdfunding – turning to the Internet to ask the general public to help with anything from launching a new venture, publishing a book or paying vet bills to raising money for victims of illness, disaster or tragedy. Continue reading Farmer asks public to help save his farm

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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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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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