The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence recognizes and celebrates agri-food producers, processors, organizations and rural communities, who through their innovative ideas and projects are helping strengthen our communities, support a sustainable environment, create jobs and boost our economy.
The following are regional award recipients from Algoma, Sudbury and Timiskaming Districts.
Mill Market – Sault Ste. Marie
In many communities, farmers’ markets close up shop when the frost hits, sending the local food movement into hibernation. After all, outdoor stalls lose their appeal in sub-zero temperatures. That’s why organizer’s in Sault Ste. Marie decided to move their market indoors to keep the doors open year-round. A former fish hatchery in the city’s historic canal district was repurposed, and in 2014, the new Mill Market opened. The market is now home to over 40 vendors including: farmers, ranchers, fishermen, artisan bakers and gourmet food businesses – and has become a hub of community activity. Today, Sault Ste. Marie consumers can stock up on great local food, no matter the weather.
Valley Growers Inc. – Blezard Valley
The rich, sandy soils near Sudbury have always produced tasty potatoes – and now you can enjoy all that flavour in a fresh,
never-frozen French fry. Valley Growers has developed an all natural, chemical and preservative-free product, they call “Farmhouse Fresh Fries”. French fry lovers can find them in the bagged salad section of Walmart and Loblaw Superstores. Thanks to Valley Growers, local farmers have gained access to big markets, 16 new jobs have been created, and North America’s favourite indulgence just got a little fresher.
Poschaven Farms – Kenabeek
Whether it’s quinoa from Bolivia or rice from China, a lot of the gluten-free basics come from a long ways away. So when attendees of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto discovered that George Posch had a certified organic stone mill in Ontario producing gluten-free buckwheat flour, they wanted more. With 700 acres of organic buckwheat on his farm, Posch saw great potential in the ever-expanding gluten-free market. He built a new 40×40-foot mill dedicated to buckwheat, catapulting production from one tonne in 2010 to 14 tonnes in 2014. At capacity, the eco-friendly facility will process 500 pounds of flour per hour. Upon completion, it will boast solar panels and in-floor radiant heating, while residues from the milling process will be burned for fuel.