A new line of farmer-grown fruit and vegetable seeds developed by a Sudbury company is gaining in popularity across eastern Canada.
Cutleaf Seeds, introduced last year by Northern Wildflowers, is a line of fruit and vegetable seeds grown in Canada and geared toward Canadian climates.
Amy Bouillon, the company’s marketing and sales specialist, said Northern Wildflowers has received interest from garden flowers across the country.
“Our products are now in over 50 garden centres across Canada,” she said in a Feb. 6 news release.
“Last year we had great growth across Ontario. This year we are seeing explosive growth across Quebec, Manitoba, and New Brunswick. Our retailers are really excited to provide a Canadian product to their customers.”
Over the course of two years, Northern Wildflowers contracted farmers across the country to propagate seeds for the company, including short-season and heirloom varieties.
Among the 60 seed varieties in the Cutleaf collection are blueberry tomato, a blue cherry tomato; purple peacock broccoli, a purple broccoli with edible kale-like leaves; and sweet Siberian watermelon, a nine-pound fruit with apricot-coloured flesh.
As part of the initiative, Northern Wildflowers is supporting both farmers who are new to growing seed crops and also more experienced seed growers looking to scale up.
“As a seed farmer ourselves, we know the importance of offering our growers multi-year purchasing agreements and a fair price for crops,” said founder and CEO Jenny Fortier in the release.
“We decided to enter the vegetable and fruit seed sector when we realized there is a definite gap in our Canadian supply chain.”
Fortier noted that many seed varieties sold in Canada are sourced from growers in Asia and South America, which are sold at a fraction of the price that a Canadian farmer would need to make a living.
Northern Wildflowers operates a 40-acre farm in Whitefish, about 30 kilometres west of Sudbury, where Fortier and her staff grow wildflowers and harvest the seeds from varieties that are native to Canada, the U.S. and parts of Mexico. They also offer consultation on large-scale remediation projects with clients in the mining, construction and energy sectors.