A ‘berry’ satisfying award for Zing!
By Dave Harrison
Dec. 19, 2016, Leamington, Ont. – Brothers Duffy and Jordan Kniaziew along with head grower Steve Stasko of Orangeline FarmsTM/Zing! Healthy FoodsTM have been awarded the Ontario Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence for their strawberries.
While most notable known for their award-winning peppers, Orangeline Farms has been working to connect the dots on growing strawberries year-round. It was one of the first to grow greenhouse strawberries in Ontario.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Duffy, “and what started with an idea turned out to be a six-year journey that came with its fair share of ups and downs.”
WELCOMING THE CROP CHALLENGE
“There wasn’t much in the way of a handbook or almanac for growing hydroponic strawberries,” said Stasko. “While that may have deterred most, we saw it as a challenge that was waiting to be discovered.
In North America, strawberries are typically grown outdoors. While that may be fine when you have year-round warm weather, those in the True North need to be resourceful if they want those sweet treats during the colder months. Orangeline Farms did just that.
Their strawberries will be available in grocery stores in the coming new year.
“We are definitely heading down the right path and consumers will be delighted to try our SupriZingly Sweet Strawberries, especially mid-winter, says Jordan, vice-president of sales and marketing.
The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence recognizes the innovative contributions of producers, processors, agri-food organizations and rural communities in Ontario. Their innovations improve existing products, create new jobs and grow Ontario’s economy.
AWARD PRESENTATION NOTES
“In Ontario, getting your fill of strawberries in February usually means purchasing strawberries grown outside the province. Thanks to Dutton and Jordan Kniaziew, though, consumers can now get their hands on fresh, Ontario-grown strawberries all year long. Adapting a European technology for growing strawberries in the winter, the growers at Orangeline Farms installed elevated growing gutters and an “umbrella” canopy system at their Leamington greenhouse operation. The addition of humidification, cooling and frost protection systems extended their growing season, while LED lights help to boost production levels. Since the first crop of Ontario winter strawberries hit shelves in 2014, many other growers across the province have adopted this innovative approach.”
ABOUT ZING! HEALTHY FOODS
Zing! Healthy Foods is brought to you by Orangeline Farms, a multiple award-winning boutique grower of specialty greenhouse grown peppers, strawberries and European runner beans. The first-generation family-oriented business operates year-round in Leamington.