Production

March 24, 2017, Kentville, NS – Loblaws recently recognized Pazazz apple with its top honour – selection as a President’s Choice product. President’s Choice status is only bestowed on produce and other food items that demonstrate truly exceptional quality, taste and great value to customers. Grown locally in Canada by Van Meekeren Farms, Pazazz is a premium winter apple variety and has been in development in conjunction with Honeybear Brands for more than nine years. A descendent of the crowd-pleasing Honeycrisp, Pazazz has a unique blend of sweet and tart flavours and explosive crunch that has attracted a loyal following of customers in just a few short years on the market. “Each year there are literally hundreds of candidates for President’s Choice status,” says Mark Boudreau, director of corporate affairs for Loblaws Atlantic. “We consider each very carefully for perfect taste, appearance, premium quality and a uniqueness they offer to our Loblaws customers. Pazazz scored highly across the board and was an easy selection for us to make.” Available now, Pazazz will be sold in 2lb special President’s Choice branded bags in select Loblaws stores while supplies last. “This is a huge honour and we’re very excited,” says Michael Van Meekeren, co-owner of Van Meekeren Farms. “Pazazz is a young variety compared to many available today and because it’s a winter variety that peaks in flavour in the winter months, it gives apple lovers something that is very difficult to get at this time of year – a premium apple variety with that just-picked freshness.”  Pazazz is harvested in late October but reaches the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavours during the winter months, arriving on Loblaws and other retailer shelves in early January each year. This season the variety has shattered all retail goals and expectations. For more information about Pazazz or Honeybear Brands visit PazazzApple.com or honeybearbrands.com.
Incredible. Unbelievable. Disneyland.
If you ask a group of random Canadians about whether they trust farmers and Canada’s food system on the whole, you’ll likely hear a variety of responses.
March 21, 2017, Edmonton, Alta – Getting into On-Farm Sales takes place April 4, 2017, at the Agri-Food Business Centre, 6547 Sparrow Drive, Leduc. “This workshop examines selling your food products direct to consumers from your farm,” says Delores Serafin with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “It’s a chance to learn about the different options available to you from u-picks to farm stands and seasonal sales centres. Discover the behind-the-scenes considerations that help to make the consumer experience memorable and your business successful, such as parking and traffic flow, signage, scales, cash handling systems, washrooms, and more.” Jim Hill with Hidden Valley Garden near Sylvan Lake will talk about the way they implemented a simple sales solution into their u-pick operation, and Vicky Horn with Tangle Ridge Ranch near Thorsby will share how customers access their lamb both on-farm and through off-farm deliveries. The workshop will also help participants to understand which regulations apply to their business, who to contact and why they matter. Getting into Farm Sales runs from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. The $25 fee includes GST and covers lunch and refreshments. To register, call 1-800-387-6030 by March 27.
March 1, 2017, Ottawa, Ont – P.E.I. potatoes fetched good prices in 2016, continuing a trend that stretches back to 2004. The strong performance for Island spuds was shown in the farm product prices indexed released by Statistics Canada Feb. 27. READ MORE
February 20, 2017, Vancouver, BC – In recognition of the importance of the Japanese market, the British Columbia Blueberry Council will again be exhibiting at the country's premier food and beverage trade show, Foodex. Held from March 7 to 10 in Tokyo, the event attracts influential buyers from across Japan and other Asian markets. "Japan has long been a very important export market for BC blueberries," said Debbie Etsell, executive director of the BC Blueberry Council. "It's a very discerning market, and the high quality of our fruit is well respected in Japan, both fresh berries in the summer, and frozen and processed formats throughout the year." In 2016, British Columbia's 800 blueberry growers produced 77 million kilograms of blueberries. Approximately half of each season's yield is exported to markets outside of Canada, making blueberries the country's most exported fruit. To celebrate this fact, and share Canada's 150th anniversary celebrations at Foodex, representatives of the BCBC will be serving up samples of Blueberry Ginger Pancakes with Maple Syrup – a quintessentially Canadian treat. As in past years, the council will be exhibiting at Foodex as part of the AgriFood Canada pavilion in the International Zone. The show attracts 77,000 buyers from food service, distribution, and trading companies, with around 3,320 companies exhibiting at the four-day event. Along with offering an excellent opportunity to connect with buyers from the Japan, the show also attracts trade buyers from other Asian markets. "This is the seventh year that the BC Blueberry Council has attended Foodex, and it's a very important opportunity for us to reconnect with some of the contacts we have made over the years," says Etsell. "We're looking forward to seeing some of the familiar faces from past shows, as well as building some new relationships and connecting them with suppliers that can fulfill their requests, whether they're looking for blueberries in fresh, frozen, dried, powdered, juice or puréed formats." The BC Blueberry Council works closely with government trade offices at both a provincial and federal level, making the most of opportunities to take part in trade missions, delegations and shows such as Foodex. Other international missions planned for 2017 include Gulfood in Dubai, and Seoul Food & Hotel in Korea.
March 24, 2017 – On the long journey from the farm to the retailer's shelf, fruits can quickly perish. In particular, the refrigeration inside the cargo containers is not always guaranteed and existing methods for measuring the temperature are not sufficiently reliable. A sensor developed at Empa solves this problem. It looks like a piece of fruit and acts like a piece of fruit – but is actually a spy. Some fruit travel long distances by the time they reach shops. They are picked, packaged, refrigerated, packed in refrigerated containers, shipped, stored and finally laid out on display. However, not all the cargo makes it safely to its destination. Although fruit is inspected regularly, some of it is damaged or may even perish during the journey. This is because monitoring still has significant scope for improvement. Although sensors measure the air temperature in the freight container, it is the core temperature of the individual fruit that is decisive for the quality of the fruit. However, up to now, it has only been possible to measure this "invasively", i.e. by inserting a sensor through the skin and into the centre. And even this process has drawbacks. To carry out the measurement, the technician usually takes a piece of fruit from a cardboard box in the front row of pallets in the container, which in turn distorts the result. Fruit that is closer to the outside of the transport container is better refrigerated than fruit on the inside. Sometimes whole container loads have to be destroyed because the temperatures on the inside of the container did not meet the prescribed guidelines. The U.S. and China, in particular, are extremely strict regarding the importation of fruit and vegetables. If the cargo has not been stored for three weeks at a certain minimum temperature, it is not authorized for sale in the country. Not only does refrigeration serve to maintain the freshness and quality of the fruit, it also kills any larvae, such as moth larvae, which can nest in the fruit. It is therefore essential to prove that the refrigeration has actually penetrated all the fruit in the whole consignment for the required period of time. In order to guarantee and monitor the temperature within the fruit, researchers at Empa have now developed an artificial fruit sensor. It is the same shape and size as the relevant fruit and also simulates its composition, and can be packed in with the real fruit and travel with it. On arrival at the destination, the data from the sensor can be analyzed relatively quickly and easily. From this, the researchers hope to gain information about the temperature during transportation. This is important information, primarily for insurance reasons: if a delivery does not meet the quality requirements, the sensor can be used to establish the point in the storage and transport chain at which something went wrong. Initial results are certainly very promising. "We analyzed the sensors in the Empa refrigeration chamber in detail and all the tests were successful," explains project leader Thijs Defraeye from the Laboratory for Multiscale Studies in Building Physics. Up to now, a fruit had to be sliced up and a sensor be placed inside. The "spy fruit" is then stuck back. However, this distorts the results as the fruit is damaged. However, the same sensor does not work for all fruits, as Defraeye explains. "We are developing separate sensors for each type of fruit, and even for different varieties," he says. There are currently separate sensors for the Braeburn and Jonagold apple varieties, the Kent mango, oranges and the classic Cavendish banana. In order to simulate the characteristics of the individual types of fruit, the fruit is X-rayed, and a computer algorithm creates the average shape and texture of the fruit. From the literature or based on their own measurements, the researchers then determine the exact composition of the fruit's flesh (usually a combination of water, air and sugar) and simulate this in exactly the same ratio in the laboratory, although not with the original ingredients, instead using a mixture of water, carbohydrates and polystyrene. This mixture is used to fill the fruit-shaped sensor mould. The mould is produced on a 3D printer. The researchers place the actual sensor inside the artificial fruit, where it records the data, including the core temperature of the fruit. Existing measuring devices on container walls only provide the air temperature, but this is not sufficiently reliable because the fruit can still be too warm on the inside. Although such fruit core simulators already exist in the field of research, they are not yet sufficiently accurate, explains Defraeye. One such example that has been used is balls filled with water with a sensor inside. "We have conducted comparative tests," says the researcher. "And our filling provided much more accurate data and simulated the behaviour of a real piece of fruit much more reliably at different temperatures." Initial field tests on the sensors are currently under way and the researchers are now looking for potential industrial partners to manufacture the fruit spies. The investment is certainly likely to be worthwhile. It is estimated that the cost of such a sensor is less than 50 Swiss Francs. The data would only have to be analyzed if something was wrong with the delivered goods. This would then make it possible to efficiently establish where in the process an error had occurred. Another desirable feature would be to be able to receive the data from the cargo container live and in real time, so that appropriate countermeasures could be taken in the event of abnormal data – thereby potentially saving the fruit cargo. That would require a wireless or Bluetooth connection. "However, our current fruit sensor cannot do that yet. And the price of the product would, of course, go up," says Defraeye. But the profits for the companies would probably also go up if the fruit sensors enabled them to supply more goods in perfect condition.
Sweet potato consumption is on the rise across the nation and Canadian horticultural growers will soon have the chance to get more of the action.
February 22, 2017 – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s potato breeders saw remarkable results with their 2016 red-skinned selections. In fact, red-skinned varieties made up half of the total selections AAFC breeders released to industry during the annual Potato Selection Release Open House. From adaptability to the processing market and high yields to disease resistance, these potential new varieties have it all. For the first time, the breeding program unveiled a multi-purpose red-skinned selection showing promise for processing as wedges, and as a traditional table potato. Breeders have also developed Russet selections that have a longer shelf life in cold storage while maintaining stable sugars, making them attractive new selections to French fry processors. These were among 15 new potato selections that AAFC’s breeding team unveiled this year. The selections were narrowed down from more than 100,000 hybrid seedlings grown and tested and measured over six years in AAFC greenhouses, laboratories and fields across the country. The selections are the result of continuing technological advances that are allowing AAFC researchers to probe the complicated DNA of potatoes to identify genes and strands of DNA linked to favourable traits. This will lead to the development of germplasm with the potential for better yields, nutritional value and cooking and processing qualities.The selections also featured disease and pest resistance that make them less demanding on the environment and offer alternative choices for organic growers. With each genetic marker that is identified, researchers are able to more quickly and accurately search through hundreds of different kinds of potatoes, including centuries-old heritage varieties and wild species, for potential breeding lines that will produce new hybrids with the desired traits.
February 21, 2017, Boston, MA – According to new findings reported at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), farmers can invite greater bee diversity in their fields by diversifying their crops. Researchers looked at 15 farms in central California, some of which grew only strawberries and some of which grew strawberries along with other crops like broccoli, raspberries, and kale. They found that several different bee species buzzed around the diversified farms, whereas only the European honeybee pollinated the strawberry-only ones. READ MORE
February 21, 2017, Guelph, Ont – The 2017 Ontario Potato Conference & Trade Show will be held at the Delta Hotel in Guelph February 28.  The speakers are looking forward to providing the latest information on seed health, disease management, insect management, soil improvement, storage audits and pesticide re-evaluations. The number of Trade Show exhibitors keeps increasing, and it will be as interesting as in previous years. There will be enough time to visit the booths at lunch and during the afternoon coffee break. Lunch, coffee breaks and parking are included with registration. This event is for growers, crop consultants, potato industry people and anyone interested in potatoes. The deadline for early registration at $50 is this February 24. The on-site registration fee at the Delta Conference Center is $75.Contact Eugenia Banks at 519-766-8073 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.
Over the past few decades and, more specifically, the past five years, there has been a resurgence of interest in hard cider in North America. Many Canadian cider makers have distinguished themselves among top producers and, because of increasing consumer demand for cider products, there are growing market opportunities both nationally and overseas.
December 8, 2016, Niagara Falls, Ont – Andrew and Jennifer Lovell of Keswick Ridge, NB, and Dominic Drapeau and Célia Neault of Ste-Françoise-de-Lotbinière, QC, have been named Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) for 2016. These two farm families were chosen from seven regional farm couples across Canada at OYF’s national event last week in Niagara Falls, Ont. Both families have dreamed of owning their own farm since they were young and were not afraid to make changes and embrace technology along the way. Their entrepreneurial spirits and adaptability has made them successful both on and off the farm. “All of this year’s regional honourees have shown us their incredible passion for agriculture,” says OYF President Luanne Lynn. “It was extremely difficult for the judges to make their decision, but ultimately our winners stood out for their state-of-the art thinking and commitment to the future of Canadian agriculture.” The Lovell’s story is different than most because neither of them grew up on a farm. In 2012 they purchased their farm, River View Orchards, with roots tracing back to 1784, and created a diversified you-pick farm market operation. It wasn’t an easy start as they suffered $100,000 in damage in 2014, but they persevered and adapted their plans until they were able to begin full production again. By offering fence and trellis construction services and building attractions that brought more than 1,400 visitors to their farm, they were able to carry on with the farm they have always dreamed of. Drapeau and Neault are third-generation dairy and field crop farmers who are not afraid to make changes and embrace technology. Raised in a farming family, Dominic got involved in the family business at a young age. When he was 16, he was performing artificial insemination on cows and developed his management skills by taking over the herd and feeding responsibilities. In the barn they use genomic testing on young animals, motion detectors for reproduction, a smart scale on the mixer-feeder and temperature probes close to calving. In the fields, the farm uses a satellite navigation system for levelling, draining, seeding, fertilizing and spraying. With these innovations over the last four years, they have enabled the farm to increase overall yields by five to 10 per cent each year. “The national event in Niagara Falls this year was a great opportunity to showcase all of the great contributions to Canadian agriculture,” says Lynn. “All of the regional OYF honourees really went outside of the box and pushed the boundaries this year.” Every year this event brings recognition to outstanding farm couples in Canada between 18 and 39 years of age who have exemplified excellence in their profession while fostering better urban-rural relations. The Lovell’s and Drapeau/Neault were chosen from seven regional finalists, including the following honourees from the other five regions: Brian & Jewel Pauls, Chilliwack BC Shane & Kristin Schooten, Diamond City AB Dan & Chelsea Erlandson, Outlook SK Jason & Laura Kehler, Carman MB Adrian & Jodi Roelands, Lambton Shores ON Celebrating 36 years, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.
November 11, 2016, Toronto, Ont – The late Jas. C (Jim) Bartlett plus Robert (Bob) Switzer and John Willmott were officially inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame at a special awards banquet on Nov. 6, 2016 in conjunction with the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. “This year we are celebrating three outstanding ambassadors for Canadian agriculture who channeled their passion and leadership into significant advancements for our entire industry,” said Herb McLane, president of the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Association. “They are visionaries within their sectors of the industry, and share a drive and dedication to work endlessly and tirelessly to make a lasting difference in the landscape of Canadian agriculture. Their work continues to benefit the horticulture and livestock industries, and the communities where they live.” The late James (Jim) Bartlett – nominated by Dow AgroSciences – devoted his career to advancing the Canadian horticulture industry. Jim was born into the family business – N.M. Bartlett Inc. – and from an early age worked alongside his father, Norman. The Bartlett business blossomed under Jim’s leadership to become the only national horticultural crop protection distributor in Canada. Jim served as president for 17 years until his retirement in 1987, bringing the next generations into the family business. As the family business grew, Jim advocated tirelessly for the horticulture sector on cross border importation. He championed the first minor use registration of pesticides program in Canada in 1977, and was an early promoter of the need for new crop protection products to serve the small acre crops that make us Canada’s diverse horticulture industry. Jim was chair of the national organization now known as CropLife Canada, and helped created the CropLife Ontario Council. He helped bring what is now the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention to Ontario. Jim was a visionary, passionate advocate and a respected voice in Canadian agriculture. Eight of his grandchildren are involved as the fourth generations of Bartletts in the business. Jim passed away in 2011, one year shy of the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Bartlett family business. The Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Association (CAHFA) honours and celebrates Canadians for outstanding contributions to the agriculture and food industry. Portraits are on display in the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame gallery, located at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The CAHFA also publicizes the importance of inductee achievements to Canada. The association was organized in 1960 and is administered by 12 volunteer board of directors located across Canada.
  Earlier this year, Willowtree Farm opened the doors to its new 8,300 square foot building, a beautiful, well planned, authentic, and inviting building featuring a 4,300 square foot retail market. To those who are not in the know, it may look like an overnight success story, but this story has been in the making for more than 25 years. It all began with Rod MacKay. Always a farmer at heart, Rod bought the land where the market is located, just outside of Port Perry, Ont., when he was 19. Upon graduating from the University of Guelph, Rod became a full-time dairy farmer for more than 20 years. He also met, fell in love with, and married Marlene. Marlene grew up on a strawberry farm and was passionate about the tasty berries. In 1979, Rod surprised Marlene by planting four acres of strawberry plants. She was thrilled and started selling her beloved strawberries out of a wagon on the side of the road. Gradually, the number of acres of strawberries grew and other fruits and vegetables were introduced. In order to sell all this produce, Marlene explored the concept of going to farmers’ markets. She was a true marketer at heart and thrived in this setting. As the acres of produce grew, so did the number of farmers’ markets they attended. At its peak, Willowtree was participating in 15 markets throughout the Greater Toronto Area. In 1990, Marlene and Rod decided to build a proper market building on the farm. As the focus on fruits and vegetables continued, there was less time for the dairy cows. In 1993, the herd was sold. Marlene and Rod had two sons – Jordan and Alex. From a young age, they helped out at markets but did not see a future for themselves on the farm. For several years, both travelled the world for business and pleasure but eventually returned when they were needed and settled back on the farm. Jordan and Alex perfectly complement each other’s strengths. Alex is passionate about growing great food and Jordan is a marketer by nature and enjoys dealing with the details that come with selling food. As both sons married, the farm needed to support three families. They started growing more produce, going to more farmers’ markets, implementing a Community Shared Agriculture program, developing a maple syrup operation, and raising sheep. Today, they grow more than 30 crops on approximately 600 acres. In 2015, Marlene passed away from a rare form of cancer. But her dream was only just beginning to blossom. Working with John Stanley, a direct marketing consultant, a plan was developed for a new market building. Willowtree desperately needed more space and a better venue from which to sell the meat that was raised on the farm. Jordan had participated in OFFMA’s bus tour to England in 2011 and was inspired by the on-farm markets that also had a fresh meat counter. “If they could do it, so can we,” he thought. One of the key features of the new market is a fresh meat counter and a full-time butcher. The certified kitchen prepares fresh and frozen entrees as well as baking. By adding these elements, the family made the commitment to be open year round. This was a critical decision that enabled them to hire key staff on a full-time basis. It was also a big shift in their business model. Both Jordan and Alex’s wives are involved in the market on a daily basis. Neither one came from a farming background but they both have an incredible work ethic. Definitely an asset if you marry a farmer. Kelty’s responsibilities include both field and retail work. Alyson has a great flair for design and can be found merchandising the products in the market. Everyone has been able to build on strengths and work towards a common goal. But how do you keep all the balls in the air and make sure you are moving forward as a team? Communication is key. They have family meetings on a regular basis, approximately twice a month. Rod is still the patriarch but he has accepted the fact that his sons bring new ideas to the business and has allowed them to try out their ideas, whether they are in the field or the market. The meetings are attended by all five family members, plus their bookkeeper, and chaired by a person outside of the business. “It is important for everyone to feel in the loop and included, especially for a family run business where the lines between business and family can easily become blurred,” said Jordan. There is still much learning that needs to happen with an expanded operation of this size but the McKays are well on their way to becoming a direct farm marketing success story.        
  Jamie Quai is very much a hands-on guy and the blue-purple stains around the cuticles of his fingernails can attest to that. Just the day before being installed as Ontario’s 61st Grape King, he’d been cleaning up after pressing Concord grapes at the family winery where he is co-proprietor, vigneron (French for grape grower) and winemaker. And while he was scrubbed up and wearing his new Grape King blazer for the event, it’s almost impossible to remove the telltale stain of the grape variety that’s better known as a juice grape than for making wine.   That was at the end of September. In mid-month, he had been named Grape King at a luncheon in St. Catharines, Ont. to launch the Niagara Wine Festival. A second crowning ceremony was held at his 22-acre vineyard, Quai du Vin Estate Winery (roughly translated as “dock” or “port” of wine) near the north shore of Lake Erie, some 30 kilometres south of London Ont. Winters can be long and cold and that means the soil stays colder longer – some seven to 10 days longer than in Niagara, Jamie said. That puts blossom time outside the dangerous frost period, a question he fielded when asked by a panel of three academic judges why he didn’t have wind machines, like growers in other areas, to ward off a late spring frost. “The heavy clay soil presents it’s own challenges.” While growers in other areas may have no cover crop between the rows of grapes, or only between alternate rows, Jamie has a permanent grass cover crop that competes for nutrients with the grapes. “Excessive (leaf) growth is as bad as too little,” he said. Another thing the judges had to consider is his donation of trial plots for Ontario ministry of agriculture and food research. “The doors are always open. We’re the benefactors of someone else’s (research) contribution to the industry and like to move that forward.” From the front window of the winery, he points across the road to a large neighbouring cornfield. “My grandfather waited to buy this land and made growing grapes and making wine his retirement project,” he said. “He knew grapes could only be grown on the ridge we are on, and that it was suitable for more than gravel pits.” The top line of that ridge can barely be seen from the back of the winery – which fittingly is on Fruit Ridge Line – past rows of blue Concord and white Niagara grapes and other varieties associated with making sparking wines (Aurore, New York Muscat). There’s also hardy red wine Baco Noir and Marechal Foch which are French hybrid varieties, and red Merlot, as well as harder to grow Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris white vinifera varieties. As well, he grows Ehrenfelser, a German white grape variety that’s a cross between Riesling and Silvaner. It’s not grown extensively in Ontario, but is widely grown in the Okanagan winegrowing region of B.C. Redi Quai and wife, Louisa, came to Canada in the early 1950s and for 15 years he worked as a subcontractor pouring cement basements for new homes and buying and selling houses on the real estate market. “He was flipping houses before it became a TV show,” Jamie said. Redi began growing grapes in 1972, and before he died in 2011, saw his dream of a family winery take root. In 1990, Jamie’s parents – Roberto and Lisa – opened the winery and it’s being passed on to Jamie, 34, and wife, Kim – a school teacher – and quite possibly their two sons, Gavin, 4, and Nicklaas, eight months. The Quai family name (pronounced Kwai, like the movie Bridge on the River Kwai) is of French derivation. His great-uncle believed retreating soldiers, or deserters in Napoleon’s army, may have settled in the area of northeast Italy where Redi came from. It’s at the geographic crossroads of France, Germany and Italy, “but shaded more into Germany,” Jamie said. “More sauerkraut and bratwurst than croissants or pizza,” he quipped. Jamie studied wine making at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) in St. Catharines, Ont., and gained hands-on experience working in large and small wineries in Niagara over three harvest years. At CCOVI, he taught the engineering side of winery operations as the instructor for the OEVI 3PP21 course from 2007 to 2016. In layman’s terms, the course code means learning how to use pumps, cooling systems, stainless steel tanks, equipment for crushing, de-stemming, and wastewater drainage and storage. ”It’s where the scientific meets the practical (application),” he said.  The Grape King is selected from a handful of growers who are nominated each year by some 500 fellow growers. Except for Jamie Quai and Sal D’Angelo (1999) from Essex County, the king or queen has always been from Niagara. So much so that it’s become an informal competition between growers in Niagara-on-the-Lake and growers in St. Catharines (and Louth), the towns of Lincoln, West Lincoln, Hamilton, and Wellington County.           
August 29, 2016, Nanaimo, BC – A young Nanaimo family is bringing a dormant winery back to life, continuing on the dream of the man who planted the grapes decades ago. As the five acres of vineyards nestled in a hot valley along Nanaimo’s Maxey Road ripen, it is also the fruition of a man’s lifework. The late founder Harry Von Wolff, who planted it all and cleared the land of trees two decades ago. READ MORE
March 29, 2016, Chatham, Ont – A labour of love has brought much success to the Korpan family over the years. The support of the community has also helped their business grow, as Early Acres Estate Winery was recently selected as the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce entrepreneur of the year. Located on Pioneer Line on the outskirts of Chatham, the store is coming up on its fourth anniversary in June. READ MORE
Planning not to replant is planning to get out of business, according to Hank Markgraf, grower services manager at the B.C. Tree Fruits Co-operative.
February 10, 2017, Hamilton, Ont – Hamilton police are looking for $100,000 worth of blueberries and other fruits they say were stolen in Stoney Creek Feb. 5.  The thief broke into a commercial refrigeration truck and drove the truck and trailer to the Toronto area. READ MORE
January 2, 2017, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont – Cold December weather made for an exceptional year for icewine in the Niagara wine region of southern Ontario.A sustained cold snap meant wineries across the region were able to harvest frozen grapes weeks earlier than normal, in some cases even months, meeting Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) regulations way ahead of schedule. READ MORE
December 16, 29016, Leamington, Ont – Fresh-picked local strawberries in the winter are no longer a fantasy in Essex County.A Leamington greenhouse is growing strawberries and gearing up to have its berries in grocery stores by Christmas.The strawberries at Orangeline Farms are marketed as Zing! Healthy Foods and have been sold in Metro stores and at the greenhouse at Highway 77 and Road 14 north of Leamington. READ MORE  
“One of the largest costs to a producer is getting the crop harvested from the trees,” says Dr. Suzanne Blatt, a scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Kentville, Nova Scotia. “Climbing up and down ladders takes time and care to ensure the workers are safe and the trees are not damaged in the harvesting process. A shorter tree with fruit that is easily accessible from the ground means faster harvest, better tree care and less risks for harvesters.”
November 9, 2016, Windsor, Ont — What a waste! Police want to know who tampered with wine holding tanks at Pelee Island Winery in southwestern Ontario that meant 250,000 litres in wine had to be dumped. That’s about 330,000 bottles of wine. Flushed. READ MORE
March 24, 2017, Mitchell, Ont – Ontario growers and processors of fruits and vegetables have successfully concluded an agreement for the 2017 vegetable season, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Processing Association (OFVPA) announced. "For the first time we could sit down directly with our partner growers and resolve many issues," said Steve Lamoure, president of OFVPA. "This happened because the Wynne government stepped in to get both parties to the table. We were within hours of losing significant parts of the growing season." "The results of working with our grower partners, the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission and the Ontario government yielded positive results," he added. "The professional handling of the negotiations of all crops made for a more constructive dialogue on the issues that affect us all. We will continue to work with all parties for the advancement and growth of all processing vegetables." As part of the deal, growers successfully negotiated to get back more than 100,000 tons of tomato production previously cut. "The changes to the negotiation process was never about price,” said Lamoure. “This was about a working relationship that can protect and grow the industry. Our workers, growers, companies and communities all benefit. This is a major win for the growers, worth approximately $10 to $11 million.” "Cooperation, trust and willingness to work together does make a difference," said Don Epp, executive director of the OFVPA. "Hopefully we have marked a turning point that will allow us to focus on growing our industry and open new opportunities for growers and processors. This will benefit everyone and strengthen the local economies of Southwestern Ontario." The agreements cover fruits and vegetables processed in Ontario.
December 9, 2016 – Potato storage sheds in Manitoba are full, thanks to blockbuster yields this fall. In fact, yields were so large that a portion of Manitoba’s potato crop is still in the ground. Consequently, about 1,300 acres of potatoes weren’t harvested this year in Manitoba out of 65,000 total acres. READ MORE
December 1, 2016, Guelph, Ont – Bayer recently announced the launch of Velum Prime nematicide, the first non-fumigant nematicide registered for potatoes in Canada. Velum Prime is a new mode of action and chemical class (pyridinyl ethyl benzamide) for nematode protection. It offers growers effective nematode protection that helps sustain plant vigor and maximize crop yield potential. “The launch of Velum Prime in Canada provides protection against a yield robbing pest that, for many growers, didn’t have a viable solution outside of fumigants,” said Jon Weinmaster, crop and campaign marketing manager for horticulture and corn at Bayer. “Potato growers have made great advances in increasing yields and quality and this tool will help them take it a step further.” Recent trials of Velum Prime demonstrated consistent yield and quality increases and reduction in plant parasitic nematodes, including root lesion, root knot and potato cyst nematode. “Velum Prime is another tool for use in a complete nematode management program,” said Weinmaster. Velum Prime is applied in-furrow at planting. It comes in a liquid formulation that offers reliable efficacy at low application rates, making it ideal for use with existing in-furrow application equipment. Plus, applied in-furrow, Velum Prime offers the added benefit of early blight protection. Available in 4.04L jugs, Velum Prime is easy to apply, with minimal use restrictions, including flexible tank mix compatibility. Maximum residue limits for Velum Prime applied in-furrow are in place supporting trade in North America and Europe. Additional MRLs supporting trade in other key export countries, including Japan, are expected early in 2017.  
November 21, 2016, Ithaca, NY – A Cornell University program is reimagining kale – its colour, shape and even flavour – in a bid to breed the naturally biodiverse vegetable for consumer satisfaction.
October 5, 2016, Edmonton, Alta – The HortSnacks-to-Go 2016-2017 Webinar Series gets underway on October 17, 2016, at 3 p.m. MT. “This first webinar in the series features Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote of Black Fox Farm and Distillery,” says Dustin Morton, commercial horticulture specialist, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF). “Barb and her family operate their farm and distillery just outside of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In this webinar, Barb will discuss how they got started, the trials and tribulations of cut flowers, and what they’ve learned along the way.” There is no charge to attend the webinar. To register, call Dustin Morton at 780-679-1314 or via email at
October 5, 2016, Denmark – Life can be difficult for a potato plant when the soil is thirsting for water and nutrients – unless the plant is given a helping hand from a certain group of fungi.

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