GOOD THINGS GROW IN ONTARIO
Fresh from the Farm is proud to feature fresh and healthy Ontario grown apples, potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes and carrots. We are also proud of our Ontario farmers who promote and participate in Fresh from the Farm by growing and delivering their Ontario products directly to YOUR school!
WHY BUYING ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLES IS GOOD!
✔ It supports our communities
Choosing fresh and delicious local food helps to create jobs and supports economic growth in Ontario. It also builds a strong sense of community by supporting Ontario's farmers and businesses. Every time you buy local, Ontario, you make a positive impact.
✔ It helps the environment
Ontario farmers take pride in being good stewards of the land, helping to preserve it for future generations. Buying local also means your food comes from closer to home, and the closer, the fresher!
✔ It's nutritious and tastes great
Adding nutritious Ontario fruits and vegetables to your diet can help contribute to a healthier lifestyle. They provide excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre. As well, adds texture, colour and a variety of flavor profiles to any meal or snack.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE? 'ONTARIO' VS. 'LOCAL'
There are many options for defining 'local' and definitions vary widely depending on the unique geography and climate where a school is located, and on the proximity to an abundance of local food producers. Many define local as within a certain number of miles, within the county, or within the province. While the phrase 'local procurement' might conjure up images of a grower delivering produce straight to the backdoor of a school cafeteria, local foods do not always travel straight from the field. Although Fresh from the Farm mostly buys directly from growers, produce is also purchased from Ontario packers, grower cooperatives, and food hubs. Our top priority is to provide the best quality, safe food for our school customers. For more information on Local Procurement please see the FAQ section.
HOW DO ONTARIO FARMERS PARTICIPATE IN FRESH FROM THE FARM?
Fresh from the Farm is committed to sourcing produce from Ontario. It must be kept in mind that this program moves a large amount of produce. While there are hundreds of producers across the province (and many located near schools), the program must use growers who have the capacity to supply the entire program or a particular region with the quantities, packaging, and quality as advertised by Fresh from the Farm. All suppliers must also be food safety certified, carry the appropriate liability insurance, and demonstrate a level of responsiveness to receive their order near the end of October, and begin shipping packaged product in early November. For those growers interested in supplying the program, please contact Dan Tukendorf at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-763-6160). Additional information on the Fresh from the Farm Procurement Process is detailed in the FAQ section.
ONTARIO FARMERS - THE PEOPLE GROWING AND SUPPLYING FRESH FROM THE FARM FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Ontario farmers have an important role in contributing to the fabric of our society and our economy. We present the Fresh from the Farm Growers who will be participating in the program. Find the farm locations below and learn about our farmers' products and farming history by visiting their websites.
In the small town of Princeton, (1) Streef Produce has grown from a small 15-acre vegetable farm to a national wholesaler since 1977. Currently, they farm 2,700 acres across four counties and market approximately 8,000 acres of produce for other farmers. The Streefs have actively participated in Fresh from the Farm since year one of the program. This year the giant producer will be supplying both, potatoes and sweet potatoes. For more information: www.youtube.com/watch?v=guDsrBmCNmQ
From Greater Sudbury (2) Don Poulin Potatoes has been a family business for five generations, producing about one million pounds or roughly 454,000 kilograms of potatoes annually. Since 2013, they have supplied Fresh from the Farm customers with potatoes. For more information: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2013/04/20/accent-growing-and-eating-close-to-home
(3) Carron Farms Ltd., located within the Holland Marsh, is owned and operated by the Verkaik family; farming, packaging and shipping safe, fresh vegetables since 1934. As of 2013 they have been the supplier of carrots, parsnips, beets and onions for Fresh from the Farm customers. For more information: www.carronfarms.ca
Located in Newcastle, (4) Algoma Orchards is all about apples! The Gibson and Kemp families have been growing apples in the Durham Region as Algoma Orchards since 1964. Algoma Orchards joined the team of growers for Fresh from the Farm in 2016. For more information: www.algomaorchards.com
Clarkesburg, located in the region around southern Georgian Bay, is the home of (5) Bay Growers. The producer has been growing a broad variety of apples for many generations. They hand pick their apples at the proper maturity for maximum freshness and flavor. We are happy to have Bay Growers aboard as a new supplier of apples for Fresh from the Farm. For more information: www.baygrowers.com
(7) Martin's Family Fruit Farms encompasses 700 acres of apple orchards. Located in the heart of Ontario's celebrated apple growing region of Waterloo, Martin's farm offers you some of the most flavourful, richly colourful, extra-crisp apples you'll ever find. But it's their passion for farming, commitment to quality and freshness, and their dedication to specialized customer service that has made them one of the largest growers, packers, and shippers in North America. Martin's has been a supplier of Fresh from the Farm since 2013. For more information: www.martinsapples.com
For detailed videos showing behind the scenes videos of how Ontario fruits and vegetables get from farm to plate visit the OFVGA youtube page.
For more information about each commodity, we also encourage you to visit the following sources: