Taiwan consumers getting taste of P.E.I.

Island's wild blueberries among products featured in Taiwanese food fair

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on November 1, 2015

Anders Chao of Grain Essence Garden in Charlottetown displays cranberries that are among P.E.I. products being showcased in Taiwan this month.

©Jim Day/The Guardian

A major supermarket chain in Taiwan is promoting an organic taste of Prince Edward Island.

Several products from P.E.I. are being featured this month in more than 115 Leezen organic chain stores across this small island nation located about 180 kilometres east of China.

The products, featured as part of the Canadian Food Fair being held by Leezen, include organic soymilk produced with organic soybeans from Alpha Mills, P.E.I. Juice Works wild blueberry juice, P.E.I. Berries wild blueberry puree, P.E.I. Preserve fruit spread, and pure cranberry juice from P.E.I. Cranberry Growers Association.

For the past four years, Grain Essence Garden of Charlottetown has been working together with P.E.I.'s Department of Agriculture, local farmers and vendors to support sustainable farming, encouraging them to gradually move toward pesticide-free farming.

Wild blueberry farmer Kevin Carver of P.E.I. Berries, Ltd. near Alliston, says his company is working hard towards a sustainable system in growing natural blueberries, reducing pesticide use, helping local pollinators, and allowing short wild grown blueberry plants to grow naturally.

"If we wish to see bees fly around every year, then we have to take care of them and help them build a home,'' he says.

Carver is also working on original land preservation.

Each strip of preserved land is separated by 36 metres of blueberry plants.

The natural pollinators will rest on the preserved lands and then enter the blueberry plants,'' he explains.

"We work with many researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario as well as University of Prince Edward Island. Everybody fundamentally believes that we actually do no need chemicals, we can coexist peacefully with Mother Earth and not go against her all the time.''

Grain Essense Garden, incorporated in 2011 in P.E.I., is operated by Buddhist followers who came to the province after the arrival of the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society (GEBIS), a monastery in Little Sands.