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Finding food that originates in Chatham-Kent and Ontario over the winter

By Kim Cooper, Economic Development Officer, Agriculture Specialist for the municipality of Chatham-Kent.

In many articles I’ve written, I have mentioned buying local and buying fresh. I believe most of us realize the importance of buying quality food products for ourselves and our family, as well as the importance of supporting our local producers.

One of the questions that arise from buying local food products – how do we continue to buy local and buy fresh in the winter and early spring, when there are no outdoor crops being grown in Chatham-Kent?

We can buy products such as apples and carrots throughout most of the year. Apples are kept crisp and delicious due to temperature and humidity-controlled storage. For carrots, our producers are using innovative ways to store carrots, and you can buy Ontario carrots under the following brand names: Nature’s Finest Produce, Bolthouse Farms, Farm Fresh, Earth Fresh, and Best of Bradford.

But for other crops, other than our greenhouse peppers and tomatoes, there really are no fresh fruits and vegetables around. But we always have the frozen and canned products available. The Green Giant Company has a “Grown and Packed in Canada” label, along with a red maple leaf in the top right corner of frozen bags of peas, corn, and green and yellow beans. Read more

Grain analyst warns of leaner years ahead for Ontario growers

By Blair Andrews, QMI Agency

The next few years will be leaner when it comes to grain prices, a market analyst for an international feed and grain company warned Thursday at the Chatham-Kent Farm Show.

Bruce Trotter based his sobering outlook on a few factors, including lower growth expectations for China and the ethanol industry.

Trotter, who works in Blenheim as the managing director for the Canadian branch of Dutch-based Cefetra, said the era from 2006 to 2011 was a time of rising land prices and better crop margins driven by bio-fuel mandates and very high growth in China.

But the mandated growth in ethanol and bio-diesel is over, and he described the most recent years as an “ethanol hangover.” Read more