Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Fruit Production
Regional Innovations awarded in Wingham


May 31, 2010
By OMAFRA

Topics

May 28, 2010, Wingham, Ont
– Ontario’s rural communities are growing innovative ideas that drive the local
economy and advance Ontario’s agri-food industry.

May 28, 2010, Wingham, Ont
– Ontario’s rural communities are growing innovative ideas that drive the local
economy and advance Ontario’s agri-food industry.

These ideas were
celebrated recently at a ceremony in Wingham, Ont., honouring regional winners
of the Premier’s Awards for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence. Local fruit and
vegetable producing recipients included:

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Smiths’ Apples and Farm
Market
– Port Elgin

There’s a real shine on
apples in a new part of the province as a result of the hard work and ingenuity
of Steve Smith. Beginning in 1995, he built a high-density, high production
crop of apples in Bruce County that has sold out quickly and regularly for the
last 10 years. The bonus is that the sales and profits happen right on the
farm. As a result of his production practices, Smith’s farm is in demand as a
tour destination and he gives lectures about “Starting an Agri-Business from
Scratch.”

Global Fruit – Clarksburg

A Grey County apple grower
has designed and built a sprayer that saves money, protects the environment and
is less noisy than anything else available in Canada. Created to operate in
Marius Botden’s high-density orchards, the sprayer reduces the amount of
pesticide by 30 per cent by reclaiming any product that does not deposit on the
trees. It reduces spray drift by 95 per cent and reduces run-off. Spraying can
also be done at a lower rate (1.2 litres per acre versus 3.5 litres),
generating tremendous savings in chemical costs.

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
– Caledon

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
was inspired by its environmentally conscious owners who had years of
experience running a pick-your-own farm operation and were looking to grow
their business in an earth-friendly way. They built an upscale artisan cider
mill, farm market and wood-fired oven bakery using environmentally sound design
and technology. Their 650-square metre facility is the largest commercial
building and the first winery production facility to use straw bale
construction methods in Ontario. Other energy savings are found from the
geothermal heat pump that heats and cools the facility, ultraviolet technology
that treats the pressed cider, and an Ecoflo biofilter that handles wastewater.
This business truly has an eco-friendly spirit.

100 Mile Market
Incorporated – Kitchener

This company has
successfully become a crucial link in the Waterloo region food production
chain, improving farmers’ margins and providing restaurants, hotels, caterers
and food service outlets with the timely delivery of a consistent, high-quality
supply of local products. There is currently a roster of 110 producers, and a
product list of fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and grains that tops 1,000. By
dealing with sales, marketing, distribution and logistics, 100 Mile Market has
also freed up the farmers’ time to concentrate on what they do best – produce
food.

Strom’s Farm – Guelph

Each year, Strom’s Farm
partners with recognized charities to help raise funds. Not only does this help
important non-profit organizations, it has also increased the visibility of
agri-tourism at the farm. A corn maze is themed each year to the chosen charity
and with a series of clues, visitors are educated about the charity while
making their way through the maze. Since 2005, Strom’s has raised more than
$18,000 for charities, has distributed more than 500 shoeboxes (filled with
different items such as toys, educational supplies and toiletries) through
Operation Christmas Child, and has helped to decrease Guelph’s Big Brother/Big
Sister waiting list.