Southern Ontario farmer finds success growing foreign beans
Most farms in southwestern corner of Ontario grow the usual crops, including soybeans, corn and winter wheat, but one farmer is having success growing a new product.
Alvinston's Jacob MacKellar has been harvesting edamame, a popular appetizer in Japanese restaurants across the country.
"When I was finished agricultural school, I came back to the farm and was specifically looking for a different crop or a type of business that we could grow on our own, and really produce something that people wanted, instead of what was just easy and typical to grow on the farm," said MacKellar.
Alvinston grows 120 hectares of edamame, which he's already harvested.
"There was certainly some eyebrows raised, especially when you go into a green field of soybeans and start harvesting it a month sooner than typically, but in the past few years, we've developed a business here, and the whole family's definitely on board."
Most of the edamame beans eaten in Canada still come from China, but MacKellar has found success supplying independent health food stores.
"The seeds grow similar and germinate just like a regular soybean or dry bean, but to really manage it throughout the season and get the outcome that you want is quite difficult," he explained. "Trying to get the biggest pod, the sweetest taste and the nice colour. It's not rocket science, but it's just a lot of management along the way."