Product Profile: Goji Berries

Agriculture in Ontario is increasingly diverse with a new generation of farmers exploring unique speciality crops and continually surprising consumers with the variety of delicious, nutritious, and exotic crops that can be grown in Ontario. V & M Szuckso Farms, the only commercial producer of goji berries in Eastern Canada, is using to expand their niche market. 

"As former tobacco farmers, marketing our own product is new to us. I think is an amazing tool to reach people about our goji berries." - Mary Szucsko As the berry is native to China, many wonder how the Szucksos came into the industry. As it turns out, it was by chance. Mary was a regular consumer of the dried berry, but she wanted to try a fresh one. "As a consumer, I asked myself 'where can I buy this?' As a farmer, I asked myself 'how can I grow this?'" Discovering that the fruit could indeed thrive in their local climate and soil, she made contact with a company that sold the shrub. Soon she had two acres planted. Marketed under their Goji Ontario brand, Szuckso Farms are changing the face of this traditionally imported crop. Goji berries are said to be the most nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich plant food on earth. With a flavour similar to a cherry but with spicy undertones, the fresh fruit may be eaten as is, used in salads, added to soups, stews and rice dishes, or to make wine and sports beverages.  

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- Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation