Apples in the Broader Public Sector

We recently attended a special event hosted by My Sustainable Canada, St. Joseph’s Health Network and the Apple Growers of Ontario. This unique event brought together various buyers for public institutions, foodservice distributors, operators and processors to discuss the opportunities for Ontario apple growers in the broader public sector.

There are 14 different apple varieties grown on 15,800 acres of land in Ontario stretching from Windsor to Ottawa and throughout the Greenbelt. This translates into a lot of apples for Ontarians. In fact, apples grown in Ontario are far superior to other varieties grown in Canada and abroad. We have great growing conditions and when stored properly, apples can be available all throughout the year. Although last year the apple business was seriously affected by damaging weather early in the season, this season is looking good so far and we should be flush with Ontario apples in 2013.

The nutritional content of an apple is ideal for the BPS market. High in vitamin C, dietary fibre and sodium free, apples are also naturally sweet making it a great snack for patients to students.

Processed apple products are also widely available in Ontario. Processed formats such as: slices, cider, butter, preserves, puree and cider vinegar. Did you know that apple slices at McDonald’s across Canada are from Ontario?

The result of this half-day session was a coming together of minds to determine more opportunities for Ontario apples in the broader public sector. The break out groups each had different sectors to discuss and determine barriers for access and serving needs, for example sliced apples for the health care sector.

One way to help facilitate more connections between Ontario apple growers and the broader public sector is using Ontariofresh.ca. With over 75 apple growers and processors on Ontariofresh.ca, buyers and sellers can connect online to determine purchasing decisions such as selection, quantity and size.

More Ontario apples in our public institutions means support for our agricultural community, ensuring we’ll have a continuous supply of apples now and into the future.

- Julienne Spence, Senior Communications Manager, Greenbelt Fund