By Marg Land
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Member of Parliament Harold Albrecht (Kitchener-Conestoga), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, recently announced an investment of $713,000 to Martin’s Family Fruit Farm to adapt innovative processing equipment for the slicing and dehydration of fresh vegetables into chips.
With this support, Martin’s Family Fruit Farm will build on their expertise in producing dehydrated crispy apple chips to include vegetables. The company will use its processing facility in Elmira, Ont., to develop and pilot test drying on four vegetable varieties, including sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots and tomatoes. The company will also design and install processing equipment for large-scale production. This project will help create jobs and increase demand for local vegetables, leading to increased profitability for farmers.
“Martin’s Family Fruit Farm is delighted to partner with the Government of Canada’s AgriInnovation Program to research the dehydration of various vegetables into crispy chips,” said Kevin Martin, president of Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. “This research could help launch a new line of all natural, healthy snacks, expanding Martin’s current product offering. The project is a timely support for the innovation required to maintain Martin’s leadership in this new snack category.”
Martin’s Family Fruit Farm was incorporated in 1987 and grows, packs, wholesales and processes Ontario apples with more than 700 acres in production.
The company had previously received a federal investment of $1.4 million to help create a new processing line for apple crisps and cider and to support the commercialization of apple chips as a new snack food.
“When we think about innovation in Waterloo Region, we usually think about computers and digital media,” said MP Albrecht. “Martin’s Family Fruit Farms are a shining example of the innovation occurring at the farm gate. Our government is proud to partner with them, strengthening one our region’s largest sectors of economic activity: agriculture.”