By Jane Robinson
Guelph – When Josh Whitehead and Caroline Pilon started selling homemade kimchi at the Guelph Farmers’ Market about 12 years ago, they were simply doing something they loved.
Word spread about their Korean-style fermented sauerkraut and their business quickly grew.
“We stumbled into making food for the retail market,” said Whitehead, co-founder of Green Table Foods together with his wife Caroline. “We didn’t set out to try and change trends. I’d been making kimchi since I was about 15 years old, and we just wanted to make something we loved.”
Their first big customer was the Ontario Natural Food Co-op, looking for a private label to manufacture organic sauerkraut. They formulated three recipes that fit the organization’s requirement for 100 per cent organic and 100 per cent Ontario, and started manufacturing in 2009.
Kimchi and the other fermented vegetables may be newer foods for North Americans, but according to Whitehead, it is one of the oldest food categories in existence. No cooking is used to produce their products, retaining more of the vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants of the raw ingredients and Green Table Foods work with a wild fermentation process.
“We use a slower fermentation method that uses the ambient bacteria that are naturally found on vegetables to create our products,” Whitehead said. “The flavours in the finished product reflect where the vegetables came from. It’s like wine that way.” Continue reading
By Jeanine Moyer
Sharbot Lake, ON – Five years ago, Mike Mckenzie set out to make delicious food.
His distinguished taste for salami and smoked meats, combined with his drive to acquire meat-making skills led to the creation of Seed to Sausage, a meat processing, retail and distribution company in Sharbot Lake, a small Frontenac County village north of Kingston.
Mckenzie follows his own suite of guidelines – to make the most delicious food he can, prioritize quality and consistency, source certified humanely raised meat and local products, and use as few additives as possible. These business and product requirements have quickly become the recipe to success for Seed to Sausage.
Building the business took time. Before settling in Eastern Ontario, Mckenzie’s travels and love of meat saw him sampling salami wherever he went, refining his taste and preferences. Continue reading
This week’s story comes to us from Bioenterprise.
By Lilian Schaer
Guelph, Ontario-based Rootham Gourmet Preserves has a long history of sourcing locally grown fruits and vegetables and partnering with local farms and businesses.
As the local food movement took hold, owner Will Rootham-Roberts started seeing increased interest in locally made and sourced small-batch gourmet condiments. He recognized an opportunity for the family-owned company to expand and offer Ontario farmers the possibility of creating and selling shelf-stable jams, jellies and sauces from their own locally grown produce.
But he needed help turning that vision into reality – help he received from Bioenterprise in the form of a grant from the Bioenterprise Seed Fund.
“Thanks to Bioenterprise, we were able to expand our processing capabilities and undertake a direct marketing campaign to promote our services to potential customers,” said Rootham-Roberts. Continue reading
This week’s story comes to us from the Agricultural Adaptation Council.
By Lilian Schaer
Toronto – A not-for-profit food business incubator in Toronto is helping entrepreneurs get their fledgling food companies off the ground.
Food Starter offers food prep, processing, packaging and storage facilities to industry entrants at a reduced rate, as well as courses to teach entrepreneurs about key aspects of the food industry, like food safety, regulatory compliance, labelling, accounting, marketing, business management and human resources.
The Toronto Food Business Incubator partnered with the City of Toronto to access funding from Growing Forward 2 to develop and launch Food Starter in November 2015.
“A lot of people here are good at recipes but don’t know about all the other things needed to run a food business,” explains Carlos Correia, Food Starter’s Facility Manager. “We cover all aspects of business development to give them information they didn’t know existed but would be road block to keep them from moving forward.” Continue reading
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