In case you missed it

Recent funding was announced for improvements to the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market, which is home to more than 65 small-scale growers and producers. Renovations to the market will be completed this winter and include updating the air system and electrical service for vendors, upgrading the washroom facilities, and improving pedestrian and vehicle flow.

The Government of Canada is providing an investment of $271,250 through ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund to assist with the infrastructure upgrades. As well, the PEI government is supporting the project through the Department of Fisheries & Communities and Innovation PEI with a combined contribution of $100,000.

Congratulations to Dennis Gaudet on being inducted into the Atlantic Canada Marine Industries Hall of Fame in late January. Gaudet, a fisher from Tignish, was awarded the Mariner honour, which recognizes individuals who work, or have worked on the water, in any marine industry. He has a lifetime of experience on the water, and was also honoured last year by his peers at the Tignish Harbour as the captain of the year.

If you are hankering for some Island beer and happen to be in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, you can now get some of Copper Bottom’s beers in select liquor stores in those provinces. A recent expansion at the Montague brewery has allowed them to increase their capacity and start distributing their brews off-Island. The same expansion has also resulted in a collaboration with another Island brewery, Moth Lane Brewing. The two breweries will produce a Czech Amber Lager together, drawing on the experience of Czech brewmaster, Tomáš Kinčl who recently visited PEI and the two breweries.

Prince Edward Island’s farmers and their families have a new resource to help them deal with the mental and emotional stress that can come with farming life.

Launched at the annual meeting of the PEI Federation of Agriculture, the new website (FarmersTalk.ca) encourages farmers, producers, and family members to open up about the challenges they face, to support each other, and to reach out for help with any mental health struggles they may be dealing with. The site reminds farmers that they are not alone and includes personal messages about mental health, links to support services, and advice on how farmers can take care of their mental health before it becomes a crisis.

Agriculture and Land Minister Bloyce Thompson said in a press release, “I can tell you from my experience and from the lives of those around me, farming can be a stressful way to make a living. Too many of our friends and colleagues wrestle alone with anxiety, depression and isolation. We want to open up conversations about mental health and farming. There are people who care and services available to help.”

FarmersTalk.ca was developed by the Department of Agriculture and Land in cooperation with Island farm organizations, provincial mental health services and the Canadian Mental Health Association, PEI Division. The resource builds on support already being offered through the Farmer Assistance Program, which offers six free sessions to farmers, their families, and their employees dealing with mental health issues.

“The Prince Edward Island Federation of Agriculture is proud of the fact we have been offering counseling services through the Farm Assistance Program since 2004,” president David Mol said in a press release. “Mental health is an incredibly important issue in today’s farming environment and it is crucial that as an industry we stand beside each other and ensure people’s well being is taken care of. The Farmer Assistance Program is there for that reason and we look at Farmers Talk as one more way to shed light on this issue and how we are not alone.”

In January, the provincial government announced the recipients of the 2020 provincial wellness grants. The grants will assist 23 community groups promote wellness and help Islanders live healthier. The Wellness Grant Program provides $50,000 annually to support community-led wellness initiatives in the following priority areas: living tobacco free; being physically active and reducing sedentary time; healthy eating; consuming alcohol responsibly; and mental health promotion.

Congratulations to the 2019 PEI Agriculture Sector Council Agriculture Award winners

  • Nick Pettipas – Ministers Dedication to Agriculture Award
  • Eric Donald Francis – Employee of the Year Award
  • Linkletter Farms Ltd – Employer of the Year Award

A devastating fire in early February at MacQuarrie Meats in Winsloe saw their processing plant burnt to the ground. The meat processor deals in custom butchering and the loss was felt throughout the PEI farming community. Other local butchers have stepped up to try and fill the gap, and currently MacQuarrie is doing some distribution and wholesale sales from another location. It is yet to be determined if the business will rebuild.

Kudos to the Summerside Atlantic Superstore. They began offering a free lunch on Saturdays to anyone who may be in need of a hot meal. Recognizing that winter can be difficult for many with seasonal employment or simply a tough time of the year, the free lunches will be prepared in their community room and served from noon to 1pm each Saturday. Store manager Pam Smallman estimated that 30 people came out to the first two lunches in February. Smallman was pleased with the turnout, particularly since the weather on those days wasn’t the best. She related that one attendee “wanted to give back” herself and brought some reusable bags she had sewn as gifts for the other attendees. “I thought that was so great,” said Smallman. The store is committed to having the free lunches available until the end of March, and Smallman is optimistic about people coming each week, “I think it will grow each time.”

In restaurant news, Hojo’s Japanese Cuisine in Charlottetown has been closed for a few weeks while kitchen renovations and possible menu changes are made. They anticipate reopening in early March. The Stanley Bridge Resort is looking for a new lessor for their onsite restaurant, and The Pearl Eatery is up for sale. In Cardigan, Clamdiggers is now open again, the earliest this seasonal spot has been open in years. Beanz, an iconic Charlottetown coffee shop has been sold to Anuj Thapa, owner of The Himalayan and Spicey Chef in Charlottetown and a Halifax, NS company, Mezza Lebanese Kitchen has announced they will open a franchise in Charlottetown in the near future. There are currently 12 Mezza locations in NS, and one in Dubai. The brand expects to also expand into New Brunswick this year.

Also in Charlottetown, Galaxy Café & Bingsu has opened its doors, offering Islanders a chance to experience a frozen treat, bingsu. Bingsu is a popular dessert in Vietnam, consisting primarily of ice shavings, condensed milk and red beans, along with other flavourful toppings. As well in Charlottetown restaurant news, the new owner of Kettle Black, Osama Abdoh, has stated that he will not reopen the Kettle Black Marche location on Kent Street, which has be closed for a number of months already. And in the old Pho Hung location, another Vietnamese restaurant has opened called The Son Vietnamese Restaurant.

Congratulations to Janice Whalen, from the Millview-Vernon River 4-H Club, in Avondale, PEI for being awarded the Provincial Volunteer Leader of the Year.

Last month students from grades seven through 12 from across the province were invited to participate in the annual PEI Women’s Institute Island Product Cooking Contest. Submitted recipes needed to contain three agriculture- or fishery-based ingredients in the categories of appetizers, soups, main dish, and sweets.

Chef Michael Smith was the head judge for the competition and he presented cash prizes in various categories:

Appetizers: 1st place – Olivia Lewis, Charlottetown Rural High School; 2nd place – Kirstin Bryanton, Kinkora Regional High School; 3rd place – Colten Dougay, Kinkora Regional High School. Soups: 1st place – Percy Affleck, Kinkora Regional High School; 2nd place – Alayna Trenholm, Evan Hume, Kes Sabine, Reaghlene Clow, Parker Arsenault; Three Oaks Senior High School; 3rd place – Breahanna Callaghan, Montague Regional High School. Main Course: 1st place – Colby Buch, Kinkora Regional High School; 2nd place – Genevieve Roach, East Wiltshire Intermediate School; 3rd place – Lydia Hamill, Kinkora Regional High School. Sweets: 1st place – Matthew Murphy, Kinkora Regional High School; 2nd place – Alex Gaudet, Kinkora Regional High School. Cash prizes of $250, $100 and $50 were awarded in each of the sections.

Grade 10 student Colby Buch was declared as the overall winner with her PEI Potato Stir Fry and Smith presented her a signed copy of his latest book.

In highlighting the use of local products, PEI Women’s Institute board member and provincial Agriculture Convener, Ann MacDonald, stated “we have a rich province of food items, and it is so rewarding to see these students actively pursuing their cooking interests with ingredients from local resources.”

The WI Island Product Cooking Contest is organized by the provincial board of Prince Edward Island Women’s Institute and sponsored by the Department of Agriculture and Land.

Congratulations to Vanco Farms Ltd, recipients of the 2020 Gordon and Sandra Sobey Agriculture Awareness Award. Since 1993, Gordon and Sandra Sobey, along with the PEI Federation of Agriculture, have presented an Agriculture Awareness Award in recognition of outstanding efforts in projecting a positive image of agriculture on PEI. Vanco Farms Ltd specializes in growing specialty potatoes, organic potatoes, premium cut tulips, and tulip bulbs. The potato operation is family owned and operated by three brothers; Willem, Rit, and Phillip VanNieuwenhuyzen and the tulip operation is owned and operated by Bas Arendse. Together, along with family and many dedicated staff members, they encompass Vanco Farms Ltd.

About Salty Staff

A diverse group of people, the Salty team works hard each month to bring you great stories about PEI's food and farming community.

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