Thursday, 12 December 2013

Howe Family Farms Receives Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence

Congratulations to Howe Family Farms in Aylmer for their regional Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.

The award was given to the Howe Family for a unique pumpkin growing technique. The family has over 40 years of experience growing pumpkins and gourds; however, in recent years, rising production costs motivated them to try something new: a no-till approach. The process involves growing a rye cover crop in the fall.  When the spring pumpkin-planting season arrives, a custom-made roller knocks down the rye prior to seeding. The new approach has slashed labour costs for weeding by 75 per cent, prevented soil erosion, increased soil health and reduced the need for herbicides. Growing the pumpkins on a thick bed of fallen rye also means less contact with the soil, which has translated to a 25 per cent reduction in washing labour and a cleaner, jack-o-lantern-ready product on store shelves.

In addition to pumpkins, Howe Family Farm Market sells local strawberries, beans, beets, cantaloupe, cucumbers, melon, okra, squash, peppers and tomatoes and are a member of the Savour Elgin Culinary Trail. 

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