With advances to farming technology improving efficiency on farms, coupled with a rising demand for direct farm-to-consumer products, farmers aren’t just growing food anymore. Farmers are able to spend time turning their produce into products. The rise of social media marketing means farmers can market their products directly to their customers with ease.
In Northumberland County’s strong agricultural community, OAFVC (Ontario Agri Food Venture Centre) was originally started to provide farmers with processing facilities to turn unsellable produce (like bruised tomatoes) into sellable products (like pasta sauce). But now, OAFVC is supporting new food trends in Northumberland County by advocating for the support local food movement and innovating new food products.
How OAFVC Supports Agri Food Trends
Giving Farmers the Space They Need
OAFVC has everything farmers need — in one place — to start a small-scale food production business and support local. A fruit and vegetable processing room gives farmers a place to clean and prep the produce they harvested. A sanitary space, OAFVC offers showers onsite to give farmers a place to clean up (if they’ve come straight from the fields) and lab coats are provided for added hygiene during the different food preparation stages.
OAFVC’s commercial kitchen also gives farmers a space to develop and innovate new products with new food trends and techniques. For example, using buffalo milk from its water buffalo farm, the Ontario Water Buffalo Co. makes buffalo gelato and uses OAFVC to make and store the gelato base. Popham Lane Farm used OAFVC’s freezers to store blackcurrants, and the steam jacketed kettle to make jam.
Supporting Innovative Food Products
For farmers with their own processing facilities, OAFVC’s business services provide experienced consultations and support where needed.
During the development of their new product, Honey Vinegar, Dare 2 Dream Farm was in constant contact with the food scientists at OAFVC. While most of the product testing and development was done at the farm’s processing facility, OAFVC’s food scientists suggested different testing procedures and provided recommendations to improve the reliability of the recipe.
Turn Your Produce Into Products Through OAFVC
OAFVC offers a number of services designed to help farmers navigate the agri-food industry and use new food trends in their food business. Commercial equipment at affordable rates provide a low-risk way to test and develop new products, and training and expert advice gives you all the support you need to succeed.
To see 7 ways Northumberland County’s OAFVC can help you optimize your food production process — and save you time and energy — download the FREE infographic.