The Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence program encourages the development of our rural communities, farms, agri-food processors and agri-food organizations by adding value to existing products, creating jobs and driving economic growth by recognizing innovators who contribute to the success of Ontario's agri-food sector.  Each year applications are accepted for the Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence Program.

The Township of Scugog has had several local recipients recognized with this prestigious award.  Details about our local recipients follows, for more details about these awards visit the OMAFRA website at


2011 Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence

2011 Local Recipients - Regional Award Winners

Durham Food Limited - Port Perry

Doing your homework really pays off. Shelley and Jim Sheehan started their business by conducting market research with produce managers in local grocery stores. They found that there was a definite demand for year-round local spinach. The really hard work began when they found out there was no hydroponically grown spinach and that all the product was imported. Again, they went back to their homework by working with Cornell University to devise the technology and make it commercially viable. In two short years, production began, and 400 kilograms of spinach are being shipped to 36 local retailers weekly. The product is popular with consumers and there is a real potential to replace a $20 million import market.

Willowtree Farm - Port Perry

With a few modifications, a corn planter can become a garlic planter and a tunnel fan used to dry hay can do double duty on garlic, too. This market gardener has moved into garlic in a big way by using machinery and materials that were already on-farm, rather than buying equipment custom built for garlic production. Besides saving time and money, the owner has a larger garlic crop with a lower deformity rate, better weed control and higher returns. Production has increased from 250 pounds in 2008 to more than 3,000 pounds on three-and-a-half acres in 2010. Ten acres were planted in the fall of 2011.


Visit the OMAFRA  website for details on the 2011 Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence

2009 Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence

2009 Local Recipients - Regional Award Winners

Yellowlees Family Farm - Nestleton

While everyone has heard of piggies in a blanket, the Yellowlees have created a kind of lamb in a pastry blanket that has generated growing sales and attracted the interest of local retailers. Lamb meat is ground up, celery, carrots and several spices are added and the mixture is wrapped in white or whole wheat dough. The product can be microwaved or oven-baked. It is currently sold at the Port Perry Farmers’ Market, at local events and through the Durham Farm Fresh Marketing Association. It has been so successful that the Yellowlees are looking at expanding their kitchen facilities.

Visit the OMAFRA website for details on the 2009 awards


2006 Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence

2006 Local Recipients - Regional Award Winners

Youngfield Farms Ltd. – Durham Region

You might say Ivan and Brian De Jong have turned tillage on its ear! The farmers

have developed Canada’s first vertical tillage tool, which allows for multi-year corn

production on a sustainable level.Using yield mapping to monitor the impact of

vertical tillage on multi-year corn fields, the De Jongs have recorded an increase in

yields while realizing a 90 per cent reduction in fuel costs associated with soil

preparation.  There are three types of vertical tillage tools in North America.


Visit the OMAFRA website for details on the 2006 awards