Author Archives: AgInnovation Ontario

Growing Forward 2 brings new life to Ontario pear-growing

This story comes to us from the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

pear-on-the-tree-webBy Lilian Schaer

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Jordan, Ontario – It’s the new variety that has brought pear growing in Ontario back from the brink of extinction. And it’s funding from Growing Forward 2 (GF2) that the president of the Vineland Growers’ Co-operative credits with helping make that happen.

Cold Snap™ pear was launched in Ontario last fall – a hardy, disease-resistant new variety that stays crisp and juicy even when the fruit changes colour from green to yellow, unlike standard pears that become soft and mushy as they ripen.

Michael Ecker says Ontario’s oldest farm co-operative – it marked its 100th anniversary in 2013 – accessed funding under two different streams of GF2 to help make Cold Snap™ a reality in Ontario.

“Our first project gave us support to determine what market is out there and what is needed to grow new pears in Canada,” he explains. “The second project gave us the funding to get the new pear into consumers’ hands. We can grow something new, but getting it onto the store shelf and educating consumers takes money and hard work.”

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Immunity for life

Solving one of the most harmful diseases in beef cattle

cattle-immune-response-facebook-englishBy Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – Natural selection has enabled all kinds of life forms to adapt to changing environments. Most recently, a University of Guelph professor has harnessed natural variation within the immune system to identify and breed immunity traits to find the healthiest animals.

Years of research has led Dr. Bonnie Mallard, professor and inventor of the High Immune Response (HIR) Technology and the Immunity+ Technology, to develop a testing method to identify animals with natural immunity and enhanced disease resistance. Continue reading

Ontario farm family builds premium local food brand

pristine-gourmet-twitter-englishBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Waterford – When the going gets tough, the tough get going, or so the saying goes.

And that’s precisely the situation Ontario grain farmer Jason Persall found himself in more than a decade ago – crop prices were low, leading him to look for a way to add value to his family’s Norfolk County farming business.

Today, the Pristine Gourmet brand is popular with chefs and consumers alike across North America and is known for its premium cold-pressed virgin soybean, canola and sunflower oils that rival olive oil in quality. Continue reading

Funky fungi for healthy fields

fungus-twitter-englishBy Matt McIntosh for AgInnovation Ontario

St Catharines – Brock University researchers are looking for growth – fungal growth that is – and they are doing it with agriculture in mind.

PhD students Larissa Barelli, Soumya Moonjely, and Shasha Hu are trying to understand the relationship between entomopathogenic fungi – a naturally occurring bug-killer – and plants.

By studying how the ground-based fungi work within the soil, they could develop an effective and more naturally derived method of pest control that also promotes plant growth.

“These fungi exist all over the globe. There are numerous varieties in Ontario alone, and each has its own unique characteristics and target insects,” says Barelli. Continue reading

Craft processor – farmer partnership to develop value-added local food

product-webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – A small southern Ontario craft food processor is offering fruit and vegetable farmers the chance to add value to their crops.

Rootham Gourmet from Guelph is well known for its award-winning brand of jams, jellies, chutneys, sauces and dressings made with local ingredients that they’ve been marketing for over 30 years.

Now, with Growing Forward 2 support for a new state-of-the-art packaging line, they’re expanding to add co-packing services for Ontario farmers who have surplus produce, or are looking for a value-added product to sell in on-farm stores or at farmers’ markets. Continue reading