Fruit
October 13, 2017, Plessisville, Que – A Quebec-based organic cranberry processor is now ready to expand production and boost exports, thanks to an investment from the federal government.

The investment, announced Oct. 13, has helped Fruit d’Or commission a new plant just as Canadian food processors are taking advantage of new market opportunities under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, which took effect September 21. Since then, Fruit d’Or has sold around 635,000 pounds of dry fruits in Europe.

The federal government helped build the new plant, and buy and commission new equipment and technologies, thanks to more than $9.3 million in funding under the AgriInnovation Program of the Growing Forward 2 Agreement.

Agriculture and Agri‑Food Canada’s support through the AgriInnovation Program and interest-free financing is very important for Fruit d’Or,” said Martin Le Moine, president and CEO of the company. “Fruit d’Or has invested more than $50 million in its new Plessisville plant over the past two years. Because of this support, Fruit d’Or has an ultra-modern facility, equipped with innovations that enable it to provide its clients in more than 50 countries with innovative products that showcase Quebec cranberries and berries.”

Fruit d'Or produces cranberry juice and dried fruits to meet the growing demand of consumers around the world. As a result of this project, the company has increased its processing capacity by eight million pounds of traditional cranberries and 15 million pounds of organic cranberries over three years.
September 25, 2017, Guelph, Ont – Ontario tender fruit farmers need the right mix of rain, sunshine and growing temperatures to produce juicy, fresh peaches, pears, cherries, apricots and nectarines. But when extreme weather hits during critical crop development, it can wreak havoc on an entire crop. And unpredictable weather events are becoming more and more common.

The Ontario Tender Fruit Growers saw the need for a better way to work with whatever the weather sends their way.

“We had no good data available to know the damage that would result to our fruit crops from extreme temperatures,” says Phil Tregunno, chair of Ontario Tender Fruit.

With Growing Forward 2 funding through the Agricultural Adaptation Council, the producer group was able to work with researchers to assess the bud hardiness of various tender fruit crops. Bud hardiness gives an indication of the temperature the dormant buds can withstand before there will be damage to the resulting crop.

“If we want to be able to provide Ontario and Canadian consumers with high quality, local fruit, we need to have better tools to manage extreme weather,” says Tregunno.

Data gathered on the bud hardiness of tender fruit crops now feeds a new real-time, automated weather alert system to help Ontario tender fruit growers make decisions about how to manage extreme weather events.

Developed in partnership with Brock University, KCMS Inc., Weather INnovations Inc. and Ontario Tender Fruit, the new system runs on regional temperatures that are updated every 15 minutes, and bud survival data.

With 90 per cent of tender fruit production in the Niagara region, the bulk of the weather information comes from that area of the province.

The new weather tool is available to growers at TenderFruitAlert.ca and is searchable by location, commodity and cultivar. The site provides information to help growers monitor bud cold hardiness through the fruits’ dormant period and manage winter injury.

“Being prepared is half the battle when you farm with the weather,” says Tregunno. “This new tool gives us accurate, local weather, and matches that with the susceptibility of the specific crops and cultivars to predict that temperature when a grower will start to see crop losses. With that information, growers can make management decisions about how to deal with extreme weather – including the use of wind machines to keep temperatures above the critical point for crop injury.”

Ontario is home to more than 250 tender fruit growers, generating more than $55 million in annual sales from fresh market and processing. Those growers all remember the devastating cold weather in the spring of 2012 that saw tender fruit losses of 31 per cent to 89 per cent. 

The new web-based cold hardiness database will help growers respond and prepare for potentially damaging weather events, and that will help protect the valuable fresh, local markets, Ontario’s Niagara region is so well known for.
September 20, 2017, Washington – Storing Honeycrisp long-term while achieving good packouts and maintaining fruit of acceptable eating quality in the second part of the storage season has been a continuous challenge for our industry.

Up until last year, most packers had become comfortable knowing what types of performance to expect out of each lot. With Honeycrisp, you basically had to control your decay, manage chilling injuries (mainly soft scald), and bitter pit. We did know that this apple was sensitive to carbon dioxide injury but, aside from the occasional cavities, most packers did not report having significant problems. READ MORE

 


 
August 16, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - Canadian fruit growers need the best varieties of plants to be successful. In the case of Canadian strawberry growers, they grow the best varieties of plants, which foreign buyers demand. The import and export of fruit plants, however, must go through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to test for potentially devastating plant viruses. Currently, this testing and quarantine process takes an average of three years to complete, significantly hampering the speed of trade.

Today, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced that the CFIA will lead two projects worth $500,000 that use new DNA-based technologies to reduce the quarantine testing time, helping to boost trade and economic competitiveness in the $240 million Canadian fruit tree industry.

"Together with provincial partners and industry, our government is making the investments in innovative science that enables agriculture to be a leading growth sector of Canada's economy. Together we can help meet the world's growing demand for high-quality, sustainable food and help grow our middle class," Minister MacAulay, said. 

The first project will dramatically shorten the testing period of seeds, cuttings and bulbs imported into Canada to grow new varieties of plants. With this funding, scientists will use DNA technology to test for all viruses associated with imported plants to get an early indication of any plant diseases present. This approach could reduce the quarantine testing time by up to two and a half years.

The second project streamlines the testing of strawberry plants. Traditionally, multiple tests for viruses are required before exporting strawberry plants to foreign markets. This project will test for multiple viruses in one single test, dramatically reducing the time and cost to get plants to market.

Funding for these projects is provided through a partnership between the CFIA, Genome British Columbia, Summerland Varieties Corporation, Phyto Diagnostics, the British Columbia Cherry Association, and Vineland Research and Innovations Centre.

"Canadian import/export markets will be stronger and more competitive because of these genomics-based tools. Early detection of pathogens and viruses is a vital outcome of genomics and it is being applied across many key economic sectors." Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa, Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President, Genome British Columbia said. 
July 10, 2017, Quebec - Though cool, wet weather slowed Quebec’s early strawberry production and kept customers waiting longer than they would have liked, the results of the extended growing period are looking spectacular.

“June berries are right on time,” said Jennifer Crawford, interim director of the Quebec Strawberry and Raspberry Growers Association, which represents nearly 500 producers, “and we’re seeing beautiful, productive plants with tons of flowers and large berries.”

Joey Boudreault, business development manager for the Onésime Pouliot farm in Saint-Jean-de-l’Île-d’Orléans, Quebec, finished planting day neutral berries for the fall in mid-June and began harvesting June berries June 20. READ MORE
July 7, 2017, Quebec - Though it’s too early to tell, Quebec apple growers are set for a good season, said Stephanie Lavasseur, president of Longueuil-based Quebec Apple Producers.

Last year’s crop is almost finished, said Lavasseur, and Quebec apples should be available until the end of July.

According to this year’s annual poll to measure the awareness and popularity of apples among Quebecers, McIntosh and Honeycrisp remain popular, with macs far ahead of other favorites. For the first time, Granny Smith apples fell off the top five list. READ MORE
June 30, 2017, Simcoe, Ont. - Lydia Tomek, head winemaker at Burning Kiln Winery, isn’t one to hold back on her opinions. Not about wine. Not about agriculture. And not about the job her team of women do at Burning Kiln winery near Long Point, on the north shore of Lake Erie.

Winemaking is traditionally a male dominated profession. But Burning Kiln is heavily tilted toward the female side of the equation, with six of the most senior employees being women.

“I think women are better workers and are more creative and more flexible,” Tomek tells me on the sunny patio of her winery near the shores of Lake Erie, just up the hill from Turkey Point Beach. “Forget equal pay, we should be paid more.”

Tomek notes that the women of Burning Kiln (I’m thinking they need a hashtag, maybe #WOBKROCK or something) are different ages and are at different stages of their lives. She has a young child at home to worry about. READ MORE
June 22, 2017, Toronto, Ont. – Building on two years of success, Brewery Discovery Routes are back, with four new itineraries to explore and hundreds of stops along the way.

Nearly doubling in size since 2016, Brewery Discovery Routes combine craft beer and cider with local food and stunning natural beauty on itineraries travelling through the countryside, small towns and big cities.

Itineraries include the Windsor Essex Barrels Bottles & Brews route and the Saints and Sinners route in south Georgian Bay, which feature Ontario's Prohibition history.

Taps, Tastes & Trails in the Guelph area includes Canada's oldest independently-owned microbrewery, and Rural Routes & Dirty Boots in Durham region mixes craft beverages with artisanal sweets to offer beer butter tarts, beer brittle and cider doughnuts.

All itineraries can be found at www.brewerydiscoveryroutes.ca and 250,000 printed maps are being distributed across the GTA.

Brewery Discovery Routes are a successful partnership between the Greenbelt Fund, Ontario Craft Brewers, Ontario Craft Cider Association, Ontario Beverage Network, Feast On, and regional tourism offices throughout Ontario. The routes encourage Ontarians to choose more local, more often, supporting Ontario's $36B agricultural sector and the burgeoning craft beverage industry.

"Last summer we were a brand new company, in a small town tucked away between Toronto and cottage country. The Brewery Discovery Routes literally put us on the map and brought thousands of new visitors to our door - many of whom went on to discover Uxbridge's shops, restaurants and trails," said Joanne Richter, owner of The Second Wedge Brewing Co., on the Rural Routes and Dirty Boots route.

"Brewery Discovery Routes are the very best in curated culinary itineraries, taking Ontarians through cities, towns and rural countryside with stops for delicious food and drink along the way," said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and Greenbelt Fund. "The stops on the routes make very clear the difference local makes, offering true taste of place and one of a kind travel experiences here in Ontario."

Participants are encouraged to share photos of their experience on Instagram or Twitter using #BrewRoutes17 to be automatically entered in a draw to win a gourmet weekend for two on a Brewery Discovery adventure, a dinner for two at Langdon's Hall or brewery tours for 10 at select breweries.

While sampling is part of any brewery tour, participants are reminded to drink responsibly and establish a designated driver if touring the Discovery Routes by car. Most breweries, cideries and distilleries have bottle shops on site so visitors can take their favourite craft beverage home to enjoy.

For further information: Contact for Greenbelt Fund: Fran Pairaudeau, Project Manager, Brewery Discovery Routes, 647-331-9464, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
June 8, 2017, Halifax, NS – Atlantic Canada wine is the focus for more than 200 industry experts attending the Atlantic Canada Wine Symposium (ACWS) at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel from June 11 to 13, 2017. The three-day symposium will provide an educational opportunity for existing and interested industry professionals to learn more about current topics specific to the wine industry on the East Coast.

“We are Canada’s emerging wine region here on the East Coast, and we have come a long way since the last symposium was held back in 2012,” says Gillian Mainguy, executive director of the Winery Association of Nova Scotia. “The number of Atlantic Canada wineries has increased by 50 per cent in five short years, which is a testament to the potential for growing grapes in our region.”

This year’s ACWS welcomes more than 40 high-profile speakers from around the world. London-based wine writer, lecturer, wine judge and author Jamie Goode will present the keynote address on June 12. Goode has a PhD in plant biology and has worked as a science editor. Goode also started the popular wine website, wineanorak.com. His address will provide advice on marketing Atlantic Canada as an emerging wine region.

Other prominent speakers include Stephen Skelton, Master of Wine; Johannes Kruetten, Clemens Technologies; Paul Wagner, Balzac Communications & Marketing, San Francisco, CA., as well as Alice Feiring, writer and controversial figure in the natural wine movement.

"With the expansion of acreage in full swing here in Nova Scotia and the surrounding area, it's a timely thing this meeting of the mind … to help ensure that this emerging wine region is in pursuit of the cutting edge that will truly put us on the global wine map,” says Scott Savoy, symposium panel speaker and vineyard manager of Benjamin Bridge.

The 2017 symposium includes workshops, winery tours, wine tastings and a supplier marketplace showcasing innovative exhibitor products and services. With a diverse audience of delegates attending, the symposium is an opportunity for winemakers, vineyard managers, grape growers, winery owners, journalists, sommeliers, and educators to learn more about the Atlantic Canada wine industry.

For more information about registration as well as a complete list of events and visiting speakers for the ACWS, please visit atlanticwinesymposium.ca.
June 8, 2017, Vancouver, B.C. – Following a colder, wetter year than the past two seasons, British Columbia’s 700 local blueberry growers are getting ready to start harvesting berries around the first week of July.

“Compared to the last couple of years, it might seem like the B.C. blueberry season is starting late this year. But what we’re expecting in 2017 is actually more in line with the timing of what a ‘normal’ harvest would be,” said BC Blueberry Council board chair Nancy Chong. While picking will start later than last year, a good supply of high-quality blueberries is expected with the season stretching through until mid-September.

The start of the 2017 blueberry harvest in B.C. is expected to be around four weeks later than the start of the 2016 season, when pickers in some areas were out in the field as early as the first week of June.

Much colder temperatures and wetter winter and spring conditions have led to more work in the fields for growers, but made it harder to get out there and take care of tasks such as pruning.

“Last October and November were a bit warmer than usual, but a lot wetter than average, and then in December, we experienced a drastic drop in temperature and high winds. All of these weather conditions resulted in follow-on effects through the winter and spring,” said Chong.

To drive demand for local blueberries in international markets, the British Columbia Blueberry Council continues to regularly attend key international trade shows such as Gulfood in Dubai, Anuga and Fruit Logistica in Germany, Foodex Japan, and Food & Hotel China.
May 11, 2017, Simcoe, Ont – Aside from some sleepless nights for those in charge, frost in Norfolk hasn't greatly affected this year's berry crop.

Paula Zelem of Kent Kreek Berries, located west of Simcoe on Highway 3, said Tuesday that a warm lead-in to spring has worked to combat recent frost and keep crops relatively close to on schedule.

Mercury dropping both Sunday and Monday nights had the farm's temperature alarms ringing and their crew up at all hours to irrigate the combined 23 acres of planted berries. READ MORE
May 9, 2017, Guelph, Ont – The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is again developing fire blight risk maps during the 2017 apple and pear blossom period based on the Cougarblight Model to help support apple and pear growers with their fire blight management decisions.

The risk is based on inputting the seven-day weather forecasts from 67 locations from various regions throughout the province into the Cougarblight model. The results from Cougarblight are then mapped and posted on the OMAFRA Website.

This year, there will be a separate webpage for apples and pears (in English and French).

The maps are animated and will cycle through the seven-day fire blight risk predictions based on the seven-day weather forecast. Updated fire blight risk prediction maps will be generated and posted three times per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) until bloom period is over. A new feature on the maps will allow growers to zoom in and out of the maps, reposition them to their specific locations and pause or start the maps.

As with any model, the fire blight risk is a general guide and environmental conditions may be more conducive for fire blight infection in a particular orchard than what is indicated by the maps. All apple and pear growers are encouraged to run either the Cougarblight or Maryblyt model with data generated from their orchards for a more accurate prediction.

Assumptions: The risk assumes that open blossoms are present and dew or rain will wet the blossom, which is necessary for a fire blight infection to occur. If there are no open blossoms or if wetting of the open blossoms does not occurs, infection will most likely not take place. However, it only takes a little dew to wash the fire blight bacteria into the open blossom for infection to occur.

How to use the maps: There are only two maps that will be generated this year, one for 'fire blight occurred in the neighbourhood last year' and another for 'Fire blight occurred in the orchard last year and is now active in your neighbourhood'. To use the maps, orchards must be assigned to one of two categories based on the fire blight situation in the orchard last year and this year.
  1. Fire blight occurred in the orchard last year and is now active in your neighbourhood (use the 1st map labeled 'Active Fire Blight in Apples 2017')
  2. Fire blight occurred in the neighbourhood last year (use the 2nd map labeled 'Fire Blight Occurred Last Year in Apples')
If the fire blight situation from last year is not known, it is best to assign the orchard to 'Fire blight occurred in the neighbourhood last year' and follow the 2nd map on the webpage. Once the orchard has been assigned to one of the categories above, locate the region of the orchard on the fire blight risk prediction maps and follow the animated maps for the predicted fire blight risk corresponding to the dates on the map. The animated maps will change through the changing risks over the seven day forecast, so watch them carefully. A brief interpretation of the risk will be posted above the maps for each update.

Interpretation of Risk: The following risks (Legend) are colour coded on the maps and designated as follows:
  • Low (green): Indicates a low risk of fire blight occurring. Wetting of blossoms during these temperature conditions has not resulted in new infections in past years.
  • Caution (orange): Wetting of flowers under these temperature conditions is not likely to lead to infection except for blossoms within a few meters of an active canker. Risk of infection will increase if the weather becomes warmer and wetter. Weather forecasts should be carefully monitored. If antibiotic materials are not being used, blossom protection with other materials should be initiated one or two days prior to entering a high infection risk period. Continue appropriate protective sprays until the infection risk drops below the "high" threshold.
  • High (purple): Under these temperature conditions, serious outbreaks of fire blight have occurred. Orchards that recently had blight are especially vulnerable. The risk of severe damage from infection increases during the later days of the primary bloom period, and during petal fall, while blossoms are plentiful. Infection is common, but more scattered when late blossoms are wetted during high-risk periods. The potential severity of infection increases if a series of high-risk days occur.
  • Extreme and Exceptional (magenta): Some of the most damaging fire blight epidemics have occurred under these optimum temperature conditions, followed by blossom wetting. Orchards that have never had fire blight are also at risk under these conditions. Infections during these conditions often lead to severe orchard damage, especially during primary bloom or when numerous secondary blossoms are present.
May 8, 2017, Wenatchee, WA – Get ready for a new kind of apple. It's called Cosmic Crisp, and farmers in Washington State, who grow 70 per cent of the country's apples, are planting these trees by the millions.

The apples themselves, dark red in colour with tiny yellow freckles, will start showing up in stores in the fall of 2019. READ MORE
May 3, 2017, St. Catharines, Ont. - The Brock University Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) recently hosted Canada’s first and only internationally accredited apple and pear cider production program.

The course, which ran last week, was an intensive five-day study of all aspects of making cider, covering fruit production, quality control, and how to turn fermenting apples and pears into a financially fruitful endeavour.

Mostly, though, the intention of the program was to establish a benchmark of skills and knowledge for an industry exploding like a bottle over-fermented home brew on a hot day.

Amateur fermenters and apple growers with dreams of starting their own cideries, and professionals wanting to sharpen their beverage-making skills, were keen to drink in what Gerling and CCOVI had to offer.

The course, called cider and perry production – a foundation, filled up within a few short weeks of being announced in February. CCOVI already has a waiting list of 20 students from throughout Canada who are eager to enroll the next time it runs.

Given growth in craft cider sales, which increased 54 per cent in Ontario in 2015-16, interest in the course isn’t likely go flat. READ MORE
April 18, 2017, Okanagan Valley, B.C. - A Chardonnay icewine made in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley won the top prize at a prestigious international Chardonnay competition in France.

Summerhill Pyramid Winery’s 2014 Chardonnay Icewine beat 706 wines from 38 countries to take first place at the Chardonnay du Monde competition in Burgundy on March 8 to 10.

Two other wines from Okanagan, the 2016 See ya Later Ranch Chardonnay and McWatters Collection 2014 Chardonnay, won prestigious gold medals at the competition but Summerhill Pyramid Winery’s icewine was the only Canadian wine to finish in the top 10.

The award-winning icewine, which retails at $148 per bottle, has “notes of honey, apricot, and poached pears,” according to the winery. The winery recommends serving it “chilled by itself or with fresh fruit, drizzled over ice cream or in a nice icewine martini.”

Second place in the competition went to a wine from Spain, third place to a South African wine and fourth place to an Austrian wine. Four B.C. wines and two Ontario wines won silver medals. READ MORE
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