Lunenburg County cranberry producer receives additional funding

  • <p>Contributed photo</p><p>Cranberries.</p>

Terra Beata Farms has received another injection of funds from the federal government.

The Liberals announced July 25 that the Lunenburg County cranberry producer is receiving a $450,000 repayable loan to help reduce the costs of cleaning, freezing and transportation associated with the processing of berries and other Atlantic Canada fruits.

In December 2017, the company received a $61,500 loan from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agencey (ACOA) to help the farm double its production capacity for pure juice and expand into additional retail outlets across Canada.

Like that loan, the one announced today also came from ACOA.

Bernadette Jordan, Member of Parliament for South Shore – St. Margarets, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

Terra Beata Farms, based on Heckmans Island, near Lunenburg, will use the support to bring its fresh fruit receiving and cold storage in-house, by adding a facility in Sackville, N.B. and purchasing new cleaning and freezing equipment.

By moving those tasks to the new facility instead of contracting them out, the company will reduce its carbon footprint and increase efficiency, productivity and overall competitiveness, according to a news release from ACOA.

This project will result in the creation of four year-round jobs and 20 seasonal jobs in New Brunswick, and help maintain 25 year-round jobs in Nova Scotia.

The repayable assistance is being provided through ACOA's Business Development Program, which helps small and medium-sized enterprises expand and modernize to improve competitiveness. Additional funding is being provided by the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board.

Today's investment builds on commitments made by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic Provinces to drive economic growth in the region through the Atlantic Growth Strategy. The strategy supports strategic investments in projects that will spur value-added opportunities for resource-based industries such as the fisheries, forestry and agriculture to expand and diversify the economy.

"In 20 years, Terra Beata has grown from a patch of tree-covered land to a company processing five million pounds of fruit per year, selling to industrial customers around the world and competing against major brands at grocery stores across Canada," said Evelyn Ernst, co-owner of Terra Beata.

"This assistance from ACOA will allow us to level-up for the next 20 years, increasing fruit processing capacity and constructing the most technologically advanced frozen storage space east of Ontario for our company, and also for use by other companies in Atlantic Canada, benefiting the whole region."

Terra Beata began operations as a cranberry farm in 1999, expanding into a processing facility in 2005.

The company produces and markets frozen cranberries, juice and dried fruit under the Terra Beata brand and preserves under Cranberry Kitchen and private labels.

Terra Beata produces 13 varieties of preserves, in addition to juice, which are available in both Superstore and Sobeys throughout the Maritimes, as well as at retailers in Quebec and elsewhere in the country.

They produce 4,000 bottles of juice a day alone.

David Ernst and his wife Evelyn have run Terra Beata Cranberry Farm on Heckman's Island ever since they bought a 30-acre parcel of land across from their home at an auction in the late 1990s. Their four children - John, Rebecca, Ben and Ella - were each recruited into operations as soon as they became old enough to help out in the bogs.

Together, they have grown the fledgling operation, which started as a sideline business with two acres of raw cranberries destined for farmers' markets.

Terra Beata is now a 20-acre, multi-faceted business with 25 employees, handling more than five-million pounds of fruit a year, which is sold raw, frozen, and processed into preserves and juice to markets across Canada and around the world.

The company also opens its production facility to other food producers, and its fields to the community for U Pick.

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