Ont. backs orchards’ juice processing project

Fruit producers in southern Ontario’s Durham Region will get provincial backing to set up an “innovative” process for making “all natural” apple and pear juice.

The provincial government last week pledged up to $1.498 million from its Rural Economic Development Program to Algoma Orchards, Wilmot Orchards and Vineland Growers Co-operative for their project.

The new system will involve installation of “state-of-the-art” equipment for apple and pear processing, to achieve zero waste, the province said.

The orchard companies will also set up an “advanced” water recycling system. As well, the new juicing system is expected to allow the companies to replace imported rice hulls, used in juice pressing, with apple pomace made onsite.

“With this investment these orchards will be able to increase production of local apple and pear juice, and create opportunities for new jobs,” provincial Ag Minister Leona Dombrowsky said in a release.

Mike Gibson, one of Algoma Orchards’ owners, said in the same release that the funding will “allow us to utilize breakthrough technology to produce innovative local products that are healthy and environmentally friendly.”

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