From Our Farms to Your Tables

Did you know that the United Nations General Assembly designated 2021 the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables? The intentions of this declaration were manifold but ultimately are an effort to raise awareness around building sustainability for the agricultural sector, reduce food waste and improve food security. 

Given the challenges the pandemic has raised, the timing could not have been more perfect. 

Last year, we heard stories of layoffs, loss of revenue, food being destroyed, supply chain challenges and ultimately an increase in food insecurity everywhere.

In Ontario, it did not help that food banks were also working with reduced staff and volunteers and receiving less food and monetary donations. 

We are two thirds through 2021 already and although we are not out of the woods yet, we are grateful that businesses and support organizations have slowly reopened and the recovery has begun.

Here in the Niagara Region, the lack of International tourism significantly impacted our economy but as restrictions have been lifted, we have continued to have strong local tourism. It helps that we are famous for many things, including milder Ontario temperatures and our thousands of acres of farmland, leading to fresh, delicious and bountiful fruits and vegetables.  

Take a summer’s jaunt to our neck of the woods and you will encounter roadside fruit stand after fruit stand, food markets and pick-your-own farms carrying everything from apricots to zucchini.

At Southridge Jam, summer is very possibly our favourite time of the year and our small batch jams would not be what they are if we did not use both local Niagara Region and Ontario fruit to ensure we have the highest quality and sweetest fruit for our jams, made locally in our Vineland kitchen.

By August, the Ontario sour cherries, strawberries and peaches we use have all ripened and been prepared for immediate or future use in our jams.  

The last fruit of the summer season are our grapes.

For many years, we have been working with Reimer Farms in Vineland. They generously donate bushels of their grapes as their way of contributing to our cause of disrupting the cycle of homelessness, and investing in individuals from our community who have been homeless and are now working hard towards their brighter future. 

We are grateful that the farmers, fruit producers and retailers that we work with are all weathering the storm and working hard to rebuild.

As we also work to rebuild our inventory, capacity and programs, using local fruit in our products will continue to be a priority.

We are all looking towards a time when we are back to some semblance of normal in the future. As we walk on that path, please consider shopping for locally grown and produced foods whenever possible. Not only will this contribute to our environment by decreasing the carbon footprint of food transportation but it will also support local farmers and food producers and our Ontario agricultural sector.

When you buy our jams, you help us make a difference at the Southridge Shelter AND you help us support local farmers!

Thank you for making a difference.