Agri-Food Innovations Recognized at Award Ceremony in Simcoe County and Muskoka District
The Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence recognizes and celebrates agri-food producers, processors and organizations who are helping create jobs, boost our economy, strengthen our communities and support a sustainable environment through their innovative ideas and projects.
The following are regional award recipients from the Simcoe County and Muskoka District:
Johnston's Cranberry Marsh & Muskoka Lakes Winery - Muskoka District
More and more, urban dwellers are looking for ways to reconnect with food and farming. At Johnston's Cranberry Marsh, owners Wendy and Murray Johnston have jumped on that trend, offering an experience that's truly immersive. At the Muskoka operation, visitors can tour the operation, sample products, and get right into the cranberry bog during harvest time, surrounded by 3,000 pounds of bright red berries. As the slew of photos on social media testifies, it's a spectacular experience that people love to share. Now in its fourth year, the "Cranberry Plunge" has boosted Johnston's' revenues and contributed in a big way to the success of the local cranberry festival - attracting thousands of visitors and putting Ontario cranberries on the map.
FreshSpoke - Simcoe County
Released in September 2016, the FreshSpoke app connects buyers and sellers with a simple "click-pick-deliver" system, making it easier for wholesale buyers to get food directly from local producers and processors. It's an eBay-meets-Uber approach applied to local food. Buyers use the online platform to select the food they want to purchase while local growers pick or prepare the product, ensuring it's as fresh as possible. Producers then have the opportunity to team up for the deliveries by collecting products en route that are headed for the same destination, resulting in reduced traffic and delivery costs. Currently, FreshSpoke boasts 160 registered sellers, 230 registered buyers and products ranging from Swiss chard and Italian sausage to gourmet granola.