Canada’s First Organic Vineyard Makes More Than Just Wine

At Fiesta Farms we are always impressed by individuals or companies who find innovative, creative ways to use as much of a particular product as possible. The nose to tail movement in the culinary world has proven that utilizing the entire animal –waste not, want not- is not only delicious, ethically and ecologically sound, and mind-opening, it can be lucrative as well.
There are many other examples as well outside of the boucherie: orange and lemon oils harvested from the juice industry are used for cleaning products, spelt from the brewing industry used to feed hens and even on a more modest scale, someone like Heather Thorkelson using avocado pits to make buttons.

It just goes to show you that with a little lateral thinking you can come up with a great product that minimizes waste while enhancing our lives.

Marilyn and Bill Redelmeir run Southbrook Vineyards in Niagara, it is Canada’s first organic certified vineyard.

Chickens freely roam among the vines feasting on bugs, sheep graze on intrusive weeds, and the droppings from these happy farm workers fertilize the soil. No need for pesticides or fertilizers, the result is an organic, natural wine. And after pressing all those grapes, what to do with the tons of grape skins left over? Well, you could dump it or compost it, or you could do like the Redelmeirs and create an original awesome, organic and healthy product that is literally squeezed from the fruits of your labours and call it Bioflavia.

Most of us know by now that many of the nutritive benefits in fruits and vegetables are found in their skins, so stop peeling your spuds, apples and carrots! Grapes are no exception, as the organic grape skin powder is packed with antioxidants, containing 11,000 Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity Units (ORAC) per 10 g serving, not to mention 24% of your daily fibre needs.

Some of you may be old enough to remember an ad campaign used by Welch’s several years ago: steam curling over a pot of stewing grapes with a trustworthy avuncular voice remarking something like “We here at Welch’s figured that there must be some flavour escaping in that steam, so we figger’d a way to return the flavour to the pot.”  Then they show the pot with a lid on it and a curly tube going from one end of the pot to the other, in which the steam is condensed and returns the precious grapey essence to the vat of jelly. Seriously. Even as a child who still believed in the tooth fairy, I stared at this unlikely contraption thinking, “What a crock!”

 

There is no such suspension of disbelief required in the manufacture of Bioflavia. Basically the grape skins are dried and ground into a fine powder and packaged. Ta da! Next time you make a fruit smoothie, add a scoop of this stuff. It can be added to muffins, pancakes. There are lots of ways to incorporate it into your diet? Have you tried this product yet? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments.

All natural, organic, local to our region and delicious. A win for the ecology, a financial win for Southbrook Vineyards, a win for health nuts. We’re gonna run out of wine at this rate!

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