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Celebrating Canada’s Agriculture Day by Recognizing the Faces behind Food: Wendy Hogarth, Muskoka Lakes & Winery

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“We’re open every day, year round. The only days we close are Christmas Day and Boxing Day. So, we’ve started using those days as family days on the farm. It’s wonderful to enjoy our farm the way visitors do. This year, we’ve got a lot of extended family, from near and far, getting together to enjoy everything the farm has to offer – skating, snowshoeing, good food and fellowship. It’s become a special time for us.

When my husband first told me what he did, I said, “You grow what? I thought they came in a can.” Despite being familiar with agriculture, I’d never thought about cranberries being cultivated. Then I discovered what a cool crop they are, and I’m still making discoveries. Our food has fascinating stories to tell. We depend on food for survival, health and well-being, so knowledge is important for that reason – but food is also interesting!” 

Wendy Hogarth grows cranberries at Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery. She actually married into the business; her husband is a second generation cranberry grower. However, Wendy was well versed in the agriculture business before marrying her husband. She studied agriculture at the University of Guelph, getting her MBA in agribusiness. Growing up, she helped out on a beef and lamb far in Collingwood.

Wendy is passionate about the business, explaining that she, “loves telling the story of local cranberries – not just with cool facts, but also through touch, taste and even immersion.” As we celebrate Canada’s Agriculture Day on February 11th, we touched base with Wendy on what

What are the challenges of your job/industry?

External factors that are out of my control like the weather and market pricing.

Are there any specific challenges in your industry concerning sustainability?

Climate change, market surplus, trade wars.

What can consumers do to support you and your business?

When possible, shop at farmers markets that source local, look for local produce in your grocery store and pay a visit to a farm.

What makes you proud of the Canadian terroir?

I love where I live and celebrating what grows here. Taste of the place is something to celebrate and explore. Cranberries are a unique part of that in that they’re one of the few crops native to the area.

Why is it important to celebrate Canadian ingredients/local produce and food?

When my husband first told me what he did, I said, “You grow what? I thought they came in a can.” Despite being familiar with agriculture, I’d never thought about cranberries being cultivated. Then I discovered what a cool crop they are, and I’m still making discoveries. Our food has fascinating stories to tell. We depend on food for survival, health and well-being, so knowledge is important for that reason – but food is also interesting!  Food is just a huge part of who we are.

What does Canada’s Agriculture Day mean to you?

It’s a chance to celebrate what’s unique about where we live and what grows here. 

Why should consumers and industry alike participate in Canada’s Agriculture Day?

It raises awareness of what’s produced here. By helping local businesses and farmers, you’re able to help the community as well. By supporting farmers, we are able to highlight products and resources that consumers may not know existed without everyone taking part. 

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