There is Hope for the Food Industry in Ontario – Return to the Future by Kathy Coffey, December 07, 2013

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CFN – The Legislative Assembly of Ontario passed Bill 36 Local Food Act, 2013 on November 5, 2013. The purposes of the Act are to foster successful and resilient local food economies and systems in Ontario, help increase awareness of local food in Ontario and develop new markets for local food. $30 million has been pledged over three years to support innovative new local food projects and create jobs.

Reg and I attended the Local Food Conference in Kingston this week. What we saw was very encouraging for the health of the Ontario food Industry. Be prepared though, it seems that the business model for food processing is undergoing a revolution or a tear down and rebuild from the same motivation that sprouted Walter Bick’s, Bick’s Pickles and Ernest D’Israeli Smith’s, E.D. Smith strawberry jam. That is, lack of local processing customers to turn their crops into retail products.

The conference was organized by KEDCO (Kingston Economic Development Corporation) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Rural Affairs and was sponsored by local farmers and green houses, meat processors, bakeries, dairies and honey producers with donations for snacks and meals. Exhibitors included Homestead Organics, Foodland Ontario, and Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance and many others. Speakers from Limestone Organic and Kawartha Country Wines spoke on their experiences in developing their local business. Sessions were held on available funding how to market and discussions on food hubs, best practices and lessons learned from cases studies by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The first day of the conference was dedicated to a tour of three examples of local food hubs.

First, Limestone Creamery

Limestone Organic Creamery
Limestone Organic Creamery


Limestone Creamery is family owned and operated. They are certified organic, raise and milk about 30 head of Holstein and Jersey cows. They have a small processing plant where they High Temperature Short Time (HTST) pasteurize the milk and bottle it in glass bottles. The really unique and back to the future part of their business is that they do home deliveries to about 240 families in Kingston. Each home has an insulated Porch Box where the milk is placed on delivery.

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They have a beautiful shop where you can buy organic butter and cheeses in addition to the organic milk in a glass bottle. Check out their website to see the other wonderful organic and locally grown foods that they offer.

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The second stop was at Sun Harvest Green Houses.

Greg and Allison Shannon, after two years of research, began growing hydroponic pesticide – free tomatoes, with the vision of being a local grower of great tasting, fresh produce and selling it directly from their greenhouse store and supplying local grocery stores in the Kingston area.”

They have succeeded. In addition they also grown cucumbers and greens that they supply to local restaurants as well.Check out their web site for their additional offerings.

Sun Harvest Green Houses
Sun Harvest Green Houses


Unfortunately all the plants had been removed from the green house because it was getting too cold and not enough sun due to the short days. Allison Shannon still took us into the empty green house anyway to describe their operation.

Allison Shannon
Allison Shannon


The third stop was at Wendy’s Country Market

Wendy's Country Market
Wendy’s Country Market



Wendy began with their own farm vegetables and beef and in researching other local food found they were able to source locally, eggs, bread and chickens and the store grew. Inside the store you can find locally baked goods, candy, frozen dinners, fruits, vegetables, locally written books and hand knitted mittens among other locally made items. They added the home delivery hence the “Wendy’s Mobile Market”.


Perhaps the closing of large food processing plants and moving to the USA, Smuckers, Heinz , Hershey,  just to name three, is just closing one door and opening the door to a whole new local economy. These examples are all from the Kingston area , but why not here? One of the presenters used the phrase R&D to mean Rob & Duplicate. SD&G could duplicate what has been done in Frontenac.

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  1. I sure remember the good old days when milk was delivered to the houses and even in the stores in glass bottles. Today everything is garbage and dangerous the way they sell milk and other products. Here in Canada we should be able to grow organic and use glass bottles. Plastics are mighty dangerous for food use. Even those baby bottles that are plastic are very dangerous to the health. We have to go back to the old ways or we are going to perish.

  2. Wendy’s has their store fairly close to where I live. Excellent produce and all, but only the reasonably well-off could afford to shop there regularly.

  3. Furtz forgive me but that is not the same “Wendy’s scrap burger” that you are talking about. LOL LOL. That must be an organic store for produce which would be top notch. Yes the prices in those places are well beyond the means of the ordinary people. We do need a place that offers good organic produce that ordinary people can afford. When I was a child I remember the “Eastside Dairy” who delivered to our doors and even the breads and cupcakes, etc. were delivered by the bread trucks. You and I would be at that age to remember those good days.

    Back in the late 80’s I worked on a temp job at the military hospital on Alta Vista Drive area and when I mentioned that to a woman in the unit who was older than I by quite a number of years she thought that I was lying to her. I don’t know how things were like in Ottawa back then but I don’t think that they had such a good thing back then. People sure can’t fathom that living in a big city with all the mighty heavy traffic. We remember the good days and those good days are the precious ones to me but today I hate it. I wish that things were like the past. I would love to be able to garden and grow the good food down in the real soil down below instead of in buckets with ground that isn’t real nor healthy.

  4. No Jules. It used to be called Wendy’s Wigwam. They sell beautiful organically grown veggies, fruit, flour, honey and such. If you’re ever down Lyndhurst way, check it out.

  5. Furtz I sure will take a good look at that indeed and we always want good stuff and love to stop at the farmers markets in Cornwall. I am going to mark that down here so as we can pop in there. Thanks for the place to look into. We don’t mind paying for something good. We have stuff that we bought that isn’t good and I have to feed it to the squirrels on Monday when we go for our walk.

  6. Furtz all I saw was Lyndhurst in New Jersey in the US. What Wendy’s is this one located at? Thanks.

  7. Thank you Furtz this is good indeed. While coming back to Ottawa from Cornwall going on the highway 31 I would have loved to stop and pick the berries in the field and I am going to do that next summer. When my kids were little we went out to Vars Ontario outside of Ottawa and we picked a lot of strawberries and they were delicious. My son went out with his school to Vars and they came back with the small pumpkins (sugar pumpkins) and they make great pies. Anyone who lives on the farm is lucky indeed. The best food that is grown from the soil and not shipped thousands of miles that is green and has no taste.

    I just sent a clipping from the net to my husband’s niece in Australia to cool her down along with the family about the Arctic air in our western Canada since they have huge temperatures in the heat down there. LOL LOL. My brother in law (her father) loves to work in his garden in the back yard and so lucky indeed.

  8. Hey Reg welcome to our room. LOL LOL. The room isn’t just for Furtz and I so come on in. Reg you are in the coffee business and I haven’t had the opportunity of sampling your brew but I bet it is very good and you are often at the fairs and I like seeing what you do.

  9. @Jules
    Some of your best posts here @Jules. Congratulations, you seem to be moving in the right direction with the comments.
    When you turn your mind to positive thoughts you are a charming commentator.

  10. @ Reg. At this rate, we’ll all have to make our living by doing each other’s laundry. Sad.

  11. Furtz, make sure the laundry is done after 7PM LOL

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