Colchester North MLA Karen Casey

Nova Scotia has its own agency focused on developing the province’s food industry, Perennia Food and Agriculture Inc. 

Perennia is a not-for-profit agency owned by the province that helps farmers, fishers and food processors develop new crops, enhance their livestock operations, reach new markets with food safety certifications and develop new products. 

There are many things that make Perennia unique, but a key one is that it has specialists that provide comprehensive solutions from the farm or boat to the marketplace. Its team of close to 40 staff work on special industry development projects.

Perennia has offices in Kentville and Bible Hill, including an Innovation Centre which is an environmentally-friendly 25,000 square foot building with a pilot processing facility, product development and analytical labs, and start-up tenant space. One of its latest projects was creating a line of all natural pet treats and pet food toppers including ravioli, ramen noodles and granola using less than five local ingredients, most being crop byproducts and considered waste. Check them out at https://docksidepets.com/.

Grand Pre Winery’s new crème apple liqueur, Pomme d’or, was created at Perennia. They continue to bottle it at the centre during its start-up phase since it is a milk-based product that cannot be produced in the same facility as their wines. The centre’s pilot plant is currently undergoing renovations in preparation to be certified as a federal processing plant. 

Right now, products produced there can be sold in Nova Scotia. Once federally-certified, products will be able to be exported, further enhancing opportunities for our food producers and processors. 

Northumberland Lamb Marketing Co-operative Ltd. successfully transitioned from a provincially inspected abattoir to being federally licensed. Being able to sell across provincial borders has enabled the co-operative to expand and hire more employees.

Perennia’s horticulturist worked with producers to use bee vectoring to deliver a beneficial biological agent to combat blight in greenhouse tomatoes. By having the bees walk through a small attachment on their hives where they picked up the product on their body and legs, it was deposited on the blossoms during pollination and was successful in preventing the blight.

Perennia also offers Market Connector, a free service that allows connections to be made by producers and those seeking products. Among those using this service are hay growers and hay seekers, and the same for bees. It is a very useful service for those in the agrifood and seafood sectors.

If you are a current or future food producer or processor looking for advice and assistance whether on some aspect of farming, help meeting retailers’ food safety requirements or a way to improve or create a product, contact Perennia to see what they can do to support you.

For more information, contact the Innovation Centre at 173 Dr. Bernie MacDonald Dr., Bible Hill, at 902-896-8782, or Field Services and Food Safety Services at 199 Dr. Bernie MacDonald Dr., Bible Hill, 902-896 -0277, and 32 Main St., Kentville, 902-678-7722, or visit their website at www.perennia.ca.

Karen Casey is the MLA for Colchester North.