Category Archives: food

Feeding the fresh shrimp market from an Ontario hog barn

By Jane Robinson for AgInnovation Ontario

Campbellford – There’s no manual for farming shrimp in Ontario. No best practices or specialists to consult. But that didn’t deter the Cocchio family from taking the plunge into raising the delicate crustaceans in a former pig barn.

When the market fell out of pig farming about 10 years ago, Paul and Tracy Cocchio found themselves with three relatively new, empty barns on their Campbellford, Ontario farm.

A casual internet search for alternate uses for barns turned up shrimp farming. It peaked their interest enough to travel to the U.S. to visit a few shrimp farmers, and Paul took an Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) workshop on trout farming.

As the Cocchios pondered their options, they factored in the untapped market opportunities for Ontario-grown shrimp.

“Shrimp is the number one imported seafood in North America, and we knew that nearly every restaurant between Toronto and Ottawa has shrimp on the menu,” said Brad Cocchio, who runs the operation with his wife Jordan, and his parents Paul and Tracy. 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

Demand on the rise for Ontario-grown quinoa

Jamie Draves Quinoa Field - webBy Kelly Daynard for AgInnovation Ontario

Rockwood ON 26 July 2016 – It’s been a whirlwind few years for Jamie Draves. Six years ago, the president and chief executive officer of Katan Kitchens began researching ways to successfully grow quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) in Ontario.

Since then, production is increasing, demand continues to exceed supply, and his efforts achieved a new level of fame after a successful appearance on CBC’s The Dragons’ Den, a reality show that gives Canadian entrepreneurs the chance to pitch ideas to a panel of venture capitalists. Continue reading

The business of farming insects

cricket condos - web
By Kelly Daynard for AgInnovation Ontario

Peterborough, 5 July 2016 – Brothers Darren, Ryan and Dr. Jarrod Goldin credit much of their success in life to a mantra instilled in them by entrepreneurial parents.

Growing up in South Africa, they were told to “follow your dreams as crazy as they may be”.

That advice has served them well: today, the three brothers run Entomo Farms, an insect business north east of Toronto.

Darren and Ryan had begun with an earlier business supplying insects as reptile food. Jarrod had always hoped to work alongside his brothers and after watching an applicant on the show Shark Tank promote a cricket-based energy bar, they began contemplating producing insect protein for human consumption. Continue reading

Asian eggplant: one of Ontario’s newest local foods

Asian and Indian eggplant - web
By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Vineland, Ontario – Chinese long and Indian round eggplant are one of Ontario’s newest locally grown vegetable crops, thanks to ongoing research at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland).

Watch the video.

Some quantities of field-grown Canadian Asian eggplant are already available at retail stores in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, but researchers at Vineland are also working on developing year-round greenhouse production of the veggies.

Vineland’s World Crops program started in 2008 with a series of projects to evaluate different vegetable crops popular with new Canadians from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Okra and eggplant were ultimately selected as the two most promising crops based on potential volumes and growing ability in Ontario. Continue reading