NE Ont. wild blueberry harvesting project funded

A commercial lowbush blueberry operation in northeastern Ontario has picked up provincial funding for a project to boost yields from its plants in the region.

North Sun Nurseries, based at Swastika, about 130 km southeast of Timmins, will use $100,000 from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. (NOHFC) and its emerging technology program to buy sawdust and fertilizer to promote plant growth, deter weeds and reduce pesticide use. 

When at full production, the company is expected to support 35 seasonal jobs, the province said in a release Friday.

North Sun Nurseries was formed from the 2002 merger of North Sun Gardens and Swastika Tree Nursery and launched its blueberry business in 2005 with NOHFC support.

Its facilities and infrastructure support about 2.7 million lowbush blueberry plants, the province said.

The company’s main business is producing stock for the forestry industry such as white pine, red pine, jack pine and white spruce, as well as landscape stock, at separate facilities at Swastika and about 50 km north at Ramore.

Timiskaming-Cochrane MPP David Ramsay, in the province’s release, described the company as “a breath of fresh air in our regional economy and a golden opportunity for our communities to embrace changes that will bring prosperity, new investments and diverse jobs to the north.”

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