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By Agatha Podgorski on April 21st, 2011It’s not difficult to convince a foodie to eat second helpings of dessert.A� One can simply offer and it will be had.A� Last night at the Evergreen Bricks Works GE Cafe Chefs Series, Chef Brad Long and growing-guru Vicki Emlaw had us eating thirds!A� Despite the late hours, participants were indulging in warm chocolate chip cookies with late-harvest strawberry compote and fresh cream.A� It was a much needed teaser taster to the warm summer to come.
By Rebecca Mackenzie on April 5th, 2011Yesterday at the Premier�s Agri-Food Summit in Toronto, OCTA was in the crowd hearing the inspirational stories of Ontario farmers, growers, producers, and processors.A� Their innovations and achievements across the province did not go unnoticed. After a great breakfast of whole wheat bagels, soy butter, carrot and apple muffins, apple juice, organic milk, fresh apples, lassi yogurt smoothies and cereal � all from Ontario � the day got off to a prompt start with Premier Dalton McGuinty addressing summit guests to present his annual award. The recipients of the Premier�s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence went to Willowgrove Farms in Perth, Ont. The inspiring story of the Hill family�s desire to produce the healthiest and freshest pork possible touched the audience. With tears in her eyes, Rosie accepted the award with her husband Paul and two young children. The Minister�s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence was given to the Duizer Family of Duizer Farms. The unique robotic milking system they use on the farm ensures farmer Arie Duizer can spend time away from the barn and with his family. Arie and his wife Lisa accepted the award from OMAFRA Minister Carol Mitchell with big smiles. The Ontario-theme continued during the day with a Foodland Ontario update presented by business development branch director George Borovilos, and a local food panel discussion featuring Burkhard Mausberg of the Greenbelt Foundation, Sandy Houston of the Metcalf Foundation, John Scott of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers and Alison Blay-Palmer from Wilfred Laurier University. For lunch a spread of provincial goodies graced the plates of summit guests. Woolwich feta cheese, Ontario greenhouse veggies, Algoma apples, Quality Cheese brie, Silverstein ciabatta bread, Willowgrove pork, and Mapleton�s organic ice cream all made an appearance on the menu. In the afternoon two informative sessions � Growing Market Opportunities and Food Manufacturing/Sourcing Locally – captured particpants� attentions. It was great to see how much emphasis was put on supporting local growers and producers at the summit. A�Guests were engaged to think critically about ways to integrate Ontario products into their daily operations. A�Most of all, those in the room were witness to great discussions about the rewards, and challenges, of working with local items. At the end of the day guests, including Premier Dalton McGuinty, visited the Legislative Dining room for OCTA�s Taste of Ontario Reception. Overall, the day was a great success and one that surely cemented our province�s commitment to supporting those working in its agri-food industry.
By Rebecca Mackenzie on April 5th, 2011
From the Ontario Government Newsroom:
Now in its fifth year, the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence program recognizes and rewards outstanding innovations developed by farmers, agri-food businesses and organizations.
There have been 55 winners each year including a Premier’s Award recipient and a Minister’s Award recipient.
Paul and Rosie Hill are ahead of the curve when it comes to growing functional food on the farm. They’re the first pork producers in Canada to offer consumers pork products enhanced with DHA Omega-3 fatty acids. These are considered essential nutrients for the maintenance of general human health, normal growth and development. The pork is also enhanced with organic selenium, an antioxidant considered an essential trace element in the human diet. Together, they support the normal physical development of the brain, eyes and nerves. The Hills were already raising hogs, but they wanted to take things a step further by enriching their herd’s feed to make a healthier product for consumers. In just two years, Willowgrove Hill has seen their nutritionally enhanced pork products jump from two to 90 per cent of their total sales.
Milk is flowing more smoothly at Duizer Farms thanks to its innovative robotic dairy barn design. By bringing together different features from several barn designs, it enables a single producer to manage a milking herd of up to 120 cows. The investment has paid dividends in labour savings and improved herd health. Features such as a central handling facility and specialized gating allows for quick, easy sorting of cows and application of routine treatments, which has resulted in improved animal health and productivity. The barn’s design has both of the robots facing in the same direction, so cows don’t need to be retrained if they’re moved to another group. And perimeter feeding provides for cow stalls that are shaded and out of the rain, which improves cow comfort. If you build it, they will come. Not only are the cows coming home, more than 1,000 dairy producers from around the world have come to visit this innovative barn.
About the Awards Program
The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation program was initially funded for a period of five years starting in 2007. In November 2010, the Ontario government announced that it will continue to recognize agri-food innovation excellence through a permanent program.
For more information:
By Rebecca Mackenzie on February 24th, 2011http://www.theohi.ca/Home.aspx The Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance would like to congratulate all those selected to receive this prestigious industry honour.
By Rebecca Mackenzie on February 8th, 2011The fellows of the institute fully exemplify men and women whose contributions to the culinary, hospitality and tourism industry, along with their personal personal and professional industry achievements are unquestioned. Such men and women best demonstrate excellence and personal professionalism and an unwavering support of industry-specific training, and professional institutional education. Excellence, passion, achievement, success…the legacy continues. *** Lora Kirk – Head Chef, Ruby Watchco Ted Corrado – Executive Chef, C5 at the ROM Ivy Knight – Food Writer Jon Ogryzlo – Dean, Canadian Food and Wine Institute Niagara College Barbara Dunlop – Coordinator, Nutrition, Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts at the Chef’s School Kerry B. Godfrey, PhD FCMI – Director, School of Hospitality and Tourism University of Guelph Cathy Bartolic – Director, Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association Hersch Jacobs – Professor, Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Ryerson University Dan Taylor – Economic Development Officer and Corporate Services Prince Edward County Shaun Smith – Food Writer, Book Reviewer and Commentator Tim Lilleyman – Vice President, The Toronto Congress Centre Norman Hardie – Owner and Winemaker, Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard *** To purchase tickets for the 2011 Gold Awards Gala at the Four Seasons on Thurs April 14th, please CLICK HERE
By Rebecca Mackenzie on February 2nd, 2011
By Rebecca Mackenzie on November 16th, 2010
Savour Ottawa took home the Culinary Tourism Leadership Award while the Savour Stratford Perth County Festival took home the Culinary Tourism Experience Award.
Also of note are our runners up:
For Leadership – Savour Stratford Perth County
For Experience – Sensational Elora, The Blue Mountain Village Apple Pie Trail
Many thanks are again extended to our 2010 award judges: Suzanne Caskie of George Brown College, Barb Shopland of 2Gener8 Solutions Inc., Charles Grieco of the Ontario Hostelry Institute, and Suresh Doss of Spotlight Toronto.
We will be posting images and video from the awards celebration at Deerhurst, along with detailed information about our award winners over the next two weeks in a special Awards section on our website.
Stay tuned for more 2010 Ontario Culinary Tourism Award coverage.