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County businesses honoured for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence

Two local businesses were recognized for success and creativity with prestigious Premier’s Awards for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.
Jim and Marion Hughes of The Blueberry Patch, and Pete Bradford and Marla Cameron-Bradford, of The Carriage House Cooperage, were presented the award which recognizes success and innovation among communities, farms and food processing sectors.

Jeff Leal, MPP Peterborough with Marion and Jim Hughes, of The Blueberry Patch. – Ministry photo

The Hughes’ were recognized for a western European apple growing technique. The ‘super spindle’ way of growing apples has trees planted closer together and maintained to be narrower but taller to gain higher yields. In addition, roses are planted at the end of each row to act as a decorative early warning system for any diseases and insects that may spread to the trees. Rose plants are usually affected first and this alerts the grower to monitor the apple orchard more closely. Although the trees do cost more to maintain, greater productivity more than compensates for the cost.

Jeff Leal, MPP Peterborough with Marla Cameron-Bradford and Pete Bradford, of The Carriage House Cooperage. – Ministry photo

The Carriage House Cooperage is one of only two known commercial barrel makers in Canada. Bradford and Cameron-Bradford stand apart with their unique ‘CHOA’ barrels, made from a combination of Canadian cherry, hickory, oak and ash woods. The Carriage House Cooperage was recognized for its latest innovation, taking unwanted spoiled wine from vintners and creating exceptional gourmet red wine vinegar aged in CHOA barrels. Their vinegar has garnered praise from local Ontario chefs and the Niagara Culinary Institute – an example of how ancient craftsmanship can help create new Ontario products.
Prince Edward County’s Community Development Department joined the award recipients at the awards presentations in Peterborough, delivering greetings and offering congratulations.
“We are very proud that two accomplished County businesses have been recognized for their innovative success” says mayor Peter Mertens. “The Community Development Department is working with all County businesses to promote and celebrate opportunities and successes such as these”.
The Blueberry Patch and the Carriage House Cooperage were among 50 other rural businesses receiving this regional award. From these regional recipients, a Premier’s Award, a Minister’s Award and three new Leaders in Innovation awards will be chosen and announced later this fall.

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