During Organic Week, there are daily webinars scheduled about varying topics. Registration link can be found at organicweek.ca.
Canadians love their organic fruit – a sentiment that drove a 50 per cent increase in farmland dedicated to organic fruit between 2014 and 2015, and contributed to the $6.38-billion total organic market reported for 2019 by the Canada Organic Trade Association.
“People today recognize that organic fruits are better for you and for your body because of the way they’re grown and processed, with no chemicals, pesticides and genetic modification,” explains Caroline Miron, director of marketing and innovation at Fruit d’Or, a Villery, Que., producer and processor of organic cranberries and blueberries. “These all result in an overall better quality of fruits, and you can taste the difference from conventionally grown fruit.”
How do the benefits of organic fruit translate into processed products such as dried fruits, juices or purées?
Ms. Miron says it all comes down to processes that respect the inherent course of natural agriculture.
“For example, with our organic cranberries, we shower our cranberry fields with accumulated rain water and we wait until they’re fully grown before gently harvesting them to retain as much flavour and nutrition as possible,” she says. “We also dry them through a unique process that takes more time, honouring the fact that we need to be patient in the same way that nature is patient when it comes to growing fruits.”
A number of innovations at Fruit d’Or have taken organic fruit to a higher level of quality, says Ms. Miron. In recent years, the company has developed cranberries to meet growing consumer demand for dried fruit that either has no sugar, or that’s sweetened with better ingredients than conventional sugar.
Today, Fruit d’Or offers dried cranberries, sold under the Patience Fruit & Co. brand, with three styles of sweetness: no added sugar or additives such as artificial sweeteners, sweetened with organic cane sugar, and sweetened with organic apple juice.
“We’ve been working very hard with our R&D team to develop products to meet consumer needs and trends, and right now we know that consumers are really trying to reduce their sugar intake,” says Ms. Miron. “It was definitely challenging to come up with great-tasting dried cranberries that had reduced or no sugar because cranberries are naturally tart. We’re very proud of the fact that we were able to develop the first dried cranberries without sugar that have a really pleasing taste.”
Beyond their health benefits and pleasing taste, these innovatively produced cranberries are well loved by consumers because they add up to lower calories, says Ms. Miron.
“Canadians are doing a lot of baking right now, and using our organic cranberries that are unsweetened or sweetened with apple juice will allow them to reduce the amount of sugar in their baking,” says Ms. Miron. “But we also encourage people to eat our organic dried cranberries on their own – they’ll find that the texture, the taste, even the way they look are really quite superior.”
Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.