Meeting consumer needs for the perfect Canadian rose

By Lilian Schaer

Vineland – A new, homegrown rose is about to hit the Canadian market and it’s been carefully selected with the consumer in mind.

The Canadian Shield rose is the first variety to be released by Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) and, after in-depth research into consumer wants and needs, meets all of their key “must-haves.”  That’s according to Lana Culley, Director of Business Development at Vineland.

“Canadian Shield is cold-hardy, disease resistant and low maintenance,” she says of the variety originally bred by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada plant breeders. “The bush is large, covered in flowers, and a repeat bloomer from July through to October.”

The vibrant red blossom is a full flower with plenty of petals, and the foliage is dark green and glossy. And, the rose’s name: ‘Canadian Shield,’ is already trademarked. Continue reading

Going O-Naturel:

Local company enhances naturally-occurring microbes to aid greenhouse growers

By Matt McIntosh for AgInnovation Ontario

Toronto – Healthy growing conditions are critical to the success of any crop, and chemicals designed to help plants grow and resist disease are common, useful tools for farmers – whether growing conventional, organic, indoor, or outdoor crops.

Metagenom Bio Inc., however, is one company trying to help growers reduce their reliance on chemical controls.

With help from Bioenterprise, an organization that supports the development of agri-technology companies, through its Bioenterprise Seed Fund, Metagenom Bio Inc. uses improved microbe communities to both enhance plant growth and reduce the impact of disease.

“We’re what we like to call a ‘microbiome’ company,” says Patrick Ang, chief executive officer and the self-identified “business guy” for Metagenom Bio Inc. Continue reading

Meeting the growing demand for tempeh – locally

Gut-friendly food ingredient made from Ontario soybeans

By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Kitchener – A local food company is expanding to meet growing demand for tempeh, a gut health-friendly soy food popular in healthy cuisine.

Henry’s Tempeh has just moved into new facilities in Kitchener and is expanding its processing capabilities to boost its production.

This fermented food product, a staple in Indonesian cuisine, is made from locally grown, certified organic Ontario soybeans and is available in five flavours at over 300 stores from Manitoba to Nova Scotia, as well as locally in Kitchener area shops and restaurants.

Not only is Henry’s Tempeh minimally processed, but it’s more convenient than other tempeh products because it is pasteurized and refrigerated, making it easier for consumers to use, says one of the company’s owners. Continue reading

Innovative technologies help Holland Marsh growers protect their crops

This week’s story comes to us from the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

By Lilian Schaer

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Bradford – Collaboration between vegetable growers, a farm organization, and a grower co-operative is leading to improved plant health and more efficient vegetable production in the Holland Marsh.

The Bradford Co-op, the Fresh Vegetable Growers of Ontario and individual vegetable growers in the Holland Marsh – an extremely fertile vegetable growing area near Bradford just north of Toronto – are collaborating on a project with the University of Guelph to test innovative technologies that will make their Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs for key crops like onions and carrots more efficient and cost effective. Continue reading

The search for new fresh grape varieties for Ontario


By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Vineland – The Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland), driven by demand from nurseries and grape growers, is leading the charge to find new table grape varieties for the Ontario market.

To date, Ontario’s main homegrown fresh table grape is Sovereign Coronation, a semi-seedless blue grape that’s ready for market over a six to eight week period in late summer and early fall.

“It’s challenging to have such a short season with only one variety. That’s what led growers and nurseries to ask if there is anything else out there that could extend their season and provide retailers with different grapes,” explains Michael Kauzlaric, Technology Scout and Grower Outreach at Vineland.

That demand by Ontario grape growers prompted Vineland to begin scouting for varieties that could grow well in Ontario’s climate as well as meet taste, quality and appearance needs. Continue reading