WINNIPEG—Canadian Prairie Garden Puree Products Inc. is getting a half million dollar boost from the Canadian and Manitoba governments.
The Portage la Prairie-based company, which processes local fruit and vegetables into purees, will receive $582,000 to invest in new equipment and greatly expand its operations. Over the next five years, the company plans to expand from just nine employees to nearly 60.
“This type of value-added agri-business is a very important part of the community,” the company’s COO, Kelly Beaulieu, said. “We are creating jobs, building innovation in food processing and creating more opportunity for area farmers to sell their crops not only locally but around the world.”
“This funding is critical to the success of small businesses like ours,” she added. “My partners, Harvey and Martin Pollock and I are very grateful to receive it and will put it to work, growing and expanding our young business.”
To manufacture its purees, the company purchases large quantities of culled vegetables that might otherwise be sent to a landfill or sold at a lower price for animal feed. Using a unique process and packaging system, the resulting final products can then be stored at room temperature for up to two years.
Following its expansion, Canadian Prairie Garden will be able to cook more types of fruits, vegetables and pulses—such as chickpeas, navy beans and lentils. Meanwhile, its new machinery will ensure its products retain better colour, flavour, texture and nutritional benefits without the use of preservatives or additives.
The Canadian government noted its investment represents 50 per cent of the cost of the equipment.