Backgrounder: Annapolis Valley agri-food firms seizing new growth opportunities


October 10, 2023 · Coldbrook, Nova Scotia · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

The agri-food sector is an economic powerhouse, spurring job creation and prosperity across Nova Scotia. The Government of Canada recognizes this potential and is investing $4,855,000 through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program to help six  agri-food companies seize new growth opportunities through automation, expansion and access to new markets.

Firms receiving repayable contributions are:

Scotian Gold Co-operative Limited received $950,000 to purchase and install an automated apple pre-sorting processing line. The company is expecting a double digit increase in the volume of apples that will need to be processed from their growers in the next five years – the majority of which are bound for export markets in the United States. This contribution will help the company accommodate this growth, explore additional export markets and increase harvesting efficiencies in the packing facility. 

Scotian Gold stores and packs 60 per cent of the apple production in Atlantic Canada and is the largest apple packing and storage operation in Eastern Canada with fruit arriving from more than 50 family operated apple orchards across the province.

Atlantic Poultry Inc. received $950,000 to integrate automated incubation equipment and process automation in a new state-of-the-art broiler chick hatchery. The contribution will assist in the company’s growth by improving yield and efficiencies, while at the same time streamlining logistics and labour to improve the effectiveness of the automated equipment in a new single stage hatchery.

My Country Magic – Leaders in the Canadian agri-food industry (Nova Agri) received $900,000 to purchase automated onion vision grading equipment. This will help reduce onion defects, thereby maintaining and expanding key export accounts in the United States. The line will also increase productivity and processing capabilties, as well as extend the long-term storage of onions, allowing the company to serve domestic and international markets year-round.

Nova Agri Inc. (Nova Agri) was incorporated in 1985 as the marketing arm of its parent company, Dykeview Farms Limited, a major producer of fruits and vegetables since being founded in 1971. The company owns approximately 2000 acres of crops in the Annapolis Valley and has facilities in Canning and Centreville for its core business, which involves storing, grading, packing, processing and marketing fruits and vegetables.

Van Meekeren Farms Ltd. received $900,000 to expand its cold storage capacity by establishing a new facility equipped with automated and energy efficient controlled atmosphere and refrigeration equipment. This equipment will maintain the quality of the fresh fruit, thereby extending the marketing season for local Nova Scotia apples and ensuring the fruit is well suited for export markets. 

New plantings coupled with new apple varieties have led to the rapid growth of Nova Scotia orchard production, and the recent expansion will help Van Meekeren Farms increase sales and provide essential long-term storage for this premium Nova Scotia fruit.

Eden Valley Poultry Inc. received $650,000 to purchase automated processing equipment. This is part of a multi-phased expansion designed to increase the production capacity and efficiency of processing boneless chicken breasts. Product quality and yield will also be increased through reductions in waste and trimming.

Eden Valley Poultry Inc. processes fresh and frozen chicken and turkey products, and currently handles 2.7 per cent of the total volume of chicken grown in Canada under supply management. They are leaders in the production of air chilled poultry products and sell to a wide variety of restaurants and grocery chains throughout Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Ontario.

Sustainable Blue received $505,000 to purchase advanced automated salmon processing equipment to increase efficiency, product quality, explore new markets and develop new value-added products by processing fish normally sent to the waste stream. The contribution will help the company create a more sustainable fishery while increasing productivity and generating additional revenue.

Sustainable Blue’s mission is to create a land based Atlantic salmon fishery that discharges zero effluent back into the environment. The company has developed a proprietary water filtration technology and now operates the only zero discharge marine aquaculture facility anywhere in the world. In 2021, the company increased production capacity to 1,000 metric tonnes per year, helping to meet global demand for sustainably raised salmon. 


Kevin Lemkay
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Rural Economic Development
and of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Anya Melzer
Acting Director of Communications
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

David Parrish
President and CEO
Scotian Gold Co-operative Ltd.
902-679-6780 (Office) | 902-680-8512 (Mobile)

Drew Redden
Director, Sales and Corporate Development
Atlantic Poultry Incorporated

Earl Kidston
CEO, Nova Agri

Stephen Van Meekeren
Van Meekeren Farms Ltd.

Werner Barnard
President & Chief Executive Officer
Eden Valley Poultry Incorporated
902-538-3800 ext 6105 (Office) | 902-389-7918 (Mobile)

Melissa Welles
Quoted PR (For Sustainable Blue)

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