Category Archives: new crops

Locally grown okra could soon be an option in Canada

okra - webBy Kelly Daynard for AgInnovation Ontario

Vineland, Ontario – It’s no secret that there’s a growing ethnic population of Canadians who have preferences for foods from their home countries. That fact brings with it unique opportunities for farmers to produce crops that haven’t traditionally been grown locally.

Okra is one such crop.

Over six million kilograms of okra is imported into Canada every year and the demand climbs annually. India is the top producer of the world’s okra, growing more than 70 per cent of the global crop. Other big producers are Nigeria, Sudan, Iraq and Pakistan. Continue reading

The discovery that could transform Canada’s wine industry

End of Season growth - Sharifi - webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Peterborough, Ontario – Although Canada is home to internationally award-winning wines, the cold winters and short growing season are a constant challenge. The solution is one that has never been tried with wine grapes before until now: moving production indoors.

That’s what Dr. Mehdi Sharifi, a Canada Research Chair in sustainable agriculture and professor at Trent University’s School of the Environment, has been working on.

And it could change the entire future of Canada’s wine industry, including dramatically expanding organic wine production. 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