The World Potato Congress has announced new appointments to the board of directors, including Peter VanderZaag, president of SunRise Potato Ltd., Alliston, Ontario. He will track and report on potato-related issues throughout East Asia and China as well as offer advice to the congress regarding programs and iniatitives.
The Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association (OFFMA) honours several in the industry with its annual awards held on the eve of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention. The Leadership Award was won by Jesse Lauzon, Springridge Farm, Milton, Ontario. He was the first president of the OFFMA board who was an employee and not the owner of a farm – a fact which speaks volumes to how owners John and Laura Hughes empower their employees. As a past president of OFFMA, he worked diligently to get the organization on a sustainable path.
OFFMA’s Food Innovation Award, sponsored by Foodland Ontario, was given to two outstanding winners. Frootogo Orchards won for their Farmstead Frozen Soups under the heading of Souptogo. Winning attributes were: outstanding flavour, using their own vegetables to make a signature product and starting with fresh soups and then freezing them to preserve seasonal flavours. Steed & Company Lavender also received the nod for the exceptional flavour of its lavender preserves. The labels and logo are eye-catching.
OFFMA’s Ambassador Award recognized Jennifer MacKenzie, the author of several cookbooks, a writer for LCBO’s Food & Drink magazine and one of the official Milk Calendar recipe developers for several years. She and her husband Chef Jay Nutt, opened Nuttshell Next Door Café, to showcase the vegetables and herbs from their garden and surrounding farmers.
OFFMA’s Outstanding Farm Market award goes for the first time to an on-farm market based on meat products. Nick and Lynda Van Casteren purchased the present day farm in 1982 and started with a farrow to finish pork farm. As business grew, they opened a small store in a room adjoining the house. They started with the three P’s; Pork, Pies, Preserves.
The Great Ontario-Hopped Craft Beer Competition celebrated winners at the recent Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention. First prize was taken by The Exchange Brewery and Clear Valley Hops. A first-ever tie for second place was shared by Trafalgar Ales & Meads and Van De Slyke Farms as well as Abe Erb Brewing Company and Tavistock Hop Company. Honourable mention was won by Brock Street Brewing and Clear Valley Hops. BASF Ag Solutions sponsored this fourth annual competition which brings together Ontario’s hop producers and the brewing industry.
Congratulations to the winners of the student poster competition at the recent Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention. First prize and $500 went to Zach Telfer, University of Guelph, for: Carrot Weevil Lacking Effective Chemical Control Options in Ontario. Second price and $300 was awarded to Jason Lemay, University of Guelph for: Finding New Ways to Control Carrot Rust Fly in Ontario. Third prize and $200 went to Emine Kaplanoglu from the University of Western Ontario for: Neonicotinoid Resistance in the Colorado Potato Beetle.
The British Columbia Wine Grape Council has a new executive director. Kate Durisek has more than 20 years of experience in food, beverage and event management.
Fred Steele remains president of the British Columbia Fruit Growers’ Association (BCFGA) after its January 30 annual general meeting. He’s optimistic about the industry with inroads in selling premium cherries and apples to South Asian markets. Joining him on the executive are: vice-president Pinder Dhaliwal, north district representatives Sukhev Goraya, Surjit Nagra and Tony Nijjar, and south district representatives Ravinder Bains, Sukhdeep Brar and Peter Simonsen.
The BCFGA presented awards of merit to Brian and Dorothy Witzke. The couple are well known for their pioneering efforts in high-density plantings for apples, as well as farm business and accounting forums. Brian has been a member of the province’s Tree Fruit Production Insurance Advisory Committee while Dorothy participated in the B.C. Farm Women’s Network.