This past weekend, I attended the Canadian Farm Writer’s Conference that was held here in Winnipeg. I met lots of great writers and communication and PR people from across Canada that work in the ag world. Two of my passions combined, it was great. The opening reception gave me a chance to meet new people, Friday was a fun-filled day of tours where I learned new things going in my own backyard, and Saturday included some session on watershed management, a new initiative that is changing the way people look at agriculture, and a panel of farmer’s affected by last year’s flood.
My favourite day was Friday, when we visited a cattail harvesting operation, Oak Hammock Marsh, a winter wheat farm and a trout farm. Yes, a trout farm right here in Manitoba. Our tour came at the end of a long day, but it was well worth a visit!
Watersong Trout Farm/Riddell’s Roasters, located near Warren, MB is both a fish and chicken farm. A foodie’s dream, really. It is owned by Leslie and Rudy Reimer. Watersong is a Manitoba-Canadian Model Aqua-Farm Initiative test farm and the first in Canada. Both federal and provincial governments paid for equipment and tank. The Reimers provide operating costs. Aquaculture is considered to be environmentally friendly and is an important supply for commercial fish. Watersong contains two raceways (wide lanes) 45 metres in length that are two metres deep. They ship their harvest to a processing plant in Saskatchewan, who also buys it for their wholesale department, and the Reimers only keep 10% of the fish for themselves. This is where their challenge lies: it costs so much to ship so far, having a processing plant closer to home would solve this problem.
This is such a valuable initiative, I wish more consumers would learn about it. To see it happening right here it Manitoba made it that much better.
Samples of the smoked trout we had at dinner afterwards.