New spices and salts generate excitement

  • Jan. 26, 2011 2:00 p.m.

Submitted by Mary Lou Schroeder–The Haida Gwaii Local Foods Processing Co-op has been busy, throughout 2010, developing a new line of products with the objective of increasing employment opportunities for local food producers and harvesters.This new line of products (signature teas, gravy mixes, herbed salts and meat ‘rubs’) are developed from local ingredients such as chanterelles, boletes and other exotic mushrooms, local berries, herbs, rose hips, garlic scapes, potatoes and onions.Two of the new products (the ‘Haida Gwaii Forest Spice Mix/Rub’ and ‘Haida Gwaii Mushroom Flavoured Sea Salt’) have been prioritized for commercial development.Local market interest and excitement about these new products has been demonstrated with brisk sales at the craft fairs and positive feedback from people that exceeded our highest expectations. This local interest is an indication supporting marketing research that the identified product line has appeal as a Haida Gwaii Brand product. Sales at this point are limited to Haida Gwaii residents due to limited quantities.The new products’ development work was accomplished with funding support from the Investment Agriculture Foundation, Agriculture Canada and Coast Sustainability Trust. With their assistance, the co-op has also identified other local agricultural and agro-forestry products that have potential for processing and marketing. In addition Fresh Ideas Ltd and Crush Marketing were contracted to provide assistance in product development. This included training staff in product development procedures for future operations.Product profiles of ‘Haida Gwaii Forest Spice Mix/Rub’ and ‘Haida Gwaii Mushroom Flavoured Sea Salt’ were developed as part of a contract with Misty Isles Economic Development Society (Invest Canada Community Initiatives funding) to encourage local investment opportunities.In 2010 the co-op provided employment to approximately 40 local mushroom harvesters and two part-time and two full-time seasonal staff. The addition of a new line of products will provide a means of extending the harvesting season to begin in the spring with the potential for harvesting continuing through to the end of November.The co-op hopes to begin producing and marketing the new line of products commercially over the next year.