Just Some Good, Wholesome Food

Siblings launch Heatherdale Wholesome Goods line of organic products

PEI’s organic food scene has scored a major win with the recent entry of Heatherdale Wholesome Goods to the local market. Heatherdale joins a growing number of Island farmers and producers providing consumers with organically-grown food products. This new kid on the block is unique in its product line. While shoppers most often associate organics with fruits and vegetables, Heatherdale’s signature products are organic cold-pressed canola oil and organic cold-milled oats – staples for any pantry.

“The idea for Heatherdale has been in the works for a long time,” Rosemond MacDougall said. MacDougall and her brother, Will Beattie, co-founded Heatherdale Wholesome Goods in 2015 and launched their first two products in late 2016.

Will Beattie (L) and Rosemond MacDougall (R),  cofounders of Heatherdale Wholesome Goods submitted photo: Heatherdale Wholesome Goods

Beattie also farms a large acreage of organic grains and oilseeds across Eastern PEI and owns Alpha Mills, which supplies all the raw ingredients for the value-added products developed by Heatherdale.

“The need was there to create a new business specifically to prepare and market kitchen-ready products,” said MacDougall, adding that she and her brother both tend to be drawn to ventures that they’re not quite sure they’re ready for. “Then we have to make it happen!”

MacDougall and Beattie emigrated to Canada from the UK with their parents in 1997 and to PEI in 2000. MacDougall credits her parents with instilling a strong work ethic, faith, and love of good, wholesome food in all of their children. “Dad was the most honest, straightforward man…he was often trying something new, a new farming method, even if others thought he was crazy! Our Mum, Margaret, never gives up, she always finds a solution … she encourages us to follow our hearts and trust our instincts.”

submitted photo: Heatherdale Wholesome Goods

Certainly, ingenuity and tenacity have been hallmarks of Heatherdale’s conception, development and launch. In 2015, the company was selected as a winner of Innovation PEI’s Ignition Fund, a competition for entrepreneurs seeking start-up capital for business ventures. “This allowed us to incorporate, to properly brand and position our company, conduct market research, create a business plan and develop the products and packages,” MacDougall said.

With many ideas for potential products, the duo had to step back and focus on one item at a time. Guidance and assistance from Food Island Partnership and Canada’s Smartest Kitchen helped them settle on launching with a cold-pressed Canola oil and cold-pressed oats.

In the world of oils, cold-pressing is considered by many to be the gold standard for oil extraction. Cold-pressing retains the nutritional content of the seed and the flavour profile, while the more commonly used method of hot pressing can result in loss of both nutrients and flavour.

submitted photo: Heatherdale Wholesome Goods

“Our Canola oil is your Canadian alternative to a good quality olive oil…the tiny black Canola seeds we press into oil are certified organic, which assures you that the seed is non-GMO (genetically modified organism). Most Canola oil on the market is produced from genetically modified seeds…and the seeds have been hot-pressed, bleached and deodorized,” said MacDougall.

By contrast, MacDougall touts the deep gold colour and nutty bold flavour of their Canola oil. Its versatility is what sets it apart from other, more heat-sensitive oils such as olive oil. “It can be used [for] dressings, home-made mayo, bread dip, but is also stable at high heat making it ideal for sautéing, roasting, baking, and frying.”

MacDougall is equally confident in the high quality of their cold-milled oats. “Many who are sensitive to conventional oats can [eat Heatherdale’s]. Commercially produced grain is usually heated at high temperatures and/or steamed during the flaking process to flatten the flake and to prolong shelf life.

submitted photo: Heatherdale Wholesome Goods

“I find there is a strong sense of community and willingness to help each other in the local food movement. It’s encouraging and inspiring,” said MacDougall, describing the support they’ve received from local retailers, chefs, and other stakeholders. Some of their champions along the way have included Riverview Country Market, Plate It!, Chef Sarah Bennetto O’Brien, The Turning Point, Crystal Green Farms, Pembroke Farm, Breadworks, and the Inn at Bay Fortune.

MacDougall is excited about the imminent launch of their ‘naked’ roasted pumpkin seeds. “Our pumpkin project has been ongoing for many years – the growing, harvest and preparation of these emerald gems is a fine art.”


About Shannon Courtney

Shannon is the co-founder of Salty and was its editor-in-chief for the publication's inaugural year. When she’s not writing about food, Shannon's either cooking, eating, talking, or thinking about it. Her food adventures have included milking a Jersey cow in Australia, almost overdosing on maple syrup in Prince Edward County, and studying local food systems in Vermont as part of her Master’s thesis research. Shannon is also a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and strongly believes you CAN make friends with salad.

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