by Lucie Roy
The haskap, sometimes referred to as the new Super Berry, peafowls and pheasants, world supplier of pulses and all about sod were some of the successful enterprises showcasing the County’s agricultural industry during the Sturgeon County Agricultural Service Board Tour.
After a hearty breakfast, four yellow school buses, with windows opened for the hopes of catching a breeze departed the Sturgeon Agriplex Society on Friday for an all-day tour, with a stop for lunch at Lily Lake Village Resort.
The Ring Neck (RN) Ranch owned and operated by Brian and Diane Mullen was the first stop.They started raising pheasants in the 1980’s than expanded to include peafowl.
Brian said they always had ring necked pheasants and have a number of different types the jumbo ring necked pheasants, jumbo white, blue-black, blondes and blacks.
There are six different colour variations that he owns, the India Blue, India Blue with white eyes and feathers, black shoulders, Pied which are half white half blue and also the silver Pied and the white peacock.
Peacocks, originally being India Blue and Java Green, there are now over 200 different colour variations through cross breeding.
Haskap Berry growing farm was the next stop. Andrew Rosychuk one of the owners of Rosy Farms began growing haskaps in 2005, making him the first grower in Alberta. He went on to purchase 76 acres and started the haskap farm.
He is also the founder of the Haskap Alberta Association and a board member of the North 49 Fruit Corp.
The new variety of haskaps released in 2017 and 2017 is fifty percent bigger and at times the size of a quarter. The plant averages about 5 feet and pollination is a key element of the crop.
Originally from Russia and Japan they do grow in the whole Northern Hemisphere. The variety grown is a cross between the Russian and Japanese variety providing positive attributes of both. The intensity of the flavour is more than that of a blueberry.
AGT Food and Ingredients
AGT Food and Ingredients is one of the largest suppliers of value-added pulses, staple foods and food ingredients in the world with over 65 years of global marketing.
There are over 40 facilities located worldwide including AGT Foods in Gibbons and headquarters in Regina, SK.
Gibbons Plant Manager Wayne Mercier provided a tour of the facility which opened in 2016.
In 2014 Alliance Grain traders underwent a name change to AGT Foods and Ingredients to focus on its expanding business and increased venture on pulses, staple foods, food ingredients and packaged foods.
Namao Sod- 50 years
Robert Zaharichuk, owner of Namao Sod, spoke of Kentucky Blue grass, fertilizers, watering, best time to lay sod, varieties of grass, colouration and more.
His two locations includes the 150 acres in Namo and 350 in St Albert where their product can be purchased. The season is primarily from 01 May to October and they sell to residential and commercial customers.
Betty Zaharichuk and her husband started out as grain farmers before venturing into sod. With the river being close, they saw an opportunity for irrigation being possible. Betty’s son Robert and herself now own and operate Namao Sod and are celebrating 50 years on the farm.