CBC News’ Cherie Wheeler reports from western Newfoundland, where an experiment in growing canola and wine grapes in this historically non-agricultural province has yielded success.
Thanks to the success of some unconventional crops grown last summer, western Newfoundland might soon add canola and grapes to its list of agricultural products.
Working with independent farmers, the provincial Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods experimented with the two crops that aren’t traditionally grown in the province.
The hope was those first-time crops could sow the seeds for new farming industries.
While canola farming is big business in the prairies, it’s unheard of in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Yes, we’re a lot different from Saskatchewan, but perhaps we might have a little better conditions than Iceland or northern Norway,” said Kavanagh, the province’s alternative feed co-ordinator.
[. . .]
It turns out she was right. Planting 12 hectares on private farmland on the island’s west coast, in Pasadena, Kanvanagh said the yield was ¾ of a metric tonne per acre — which is on par with the rest of Atlantic Canada.
[. . .]
Like canola, the idea to grow grapes in Newfoundland was germinated in another province.
“There was a huge opportunity for grapes [in Nova Scotia],” says Newfoundland and Labrador’s fruit-crop development officer Karen Kennedy. “And there was no one commercially growing grapes here.”
Buoyed by stories of backyard gardeners growing grapes, Kennedy planted the first experimental vines four years ago in Humber Village, a small community in Humber Valley, as well as in Brooklyn, on the Bonavista Peninsula.