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Ont. backs Norfolk County produce processing plant

Fruit and vegetable producers and contract buyers in southwestern Ontario’s Norfolk County will get up to $1 million from the province for a joint processing facility.

The province’s Rural Economic Development Program will back Naturally Norfolk, Inc., to set up a 65,000-square foot food processing facility, including a “state-of-the-art” fruit and vegetable processing line with slicing and dicing capacity, plus a freeze-drying line, and capacity to process over eight million pounds of raw fruit and vegetables in frozen form.

Apart from providing opportunities for local producers to boost their production and to market local Ontario products provincewide, nationwide and for export, the investment is also meant to “assist the area in moving away from tobacco production,” the province said in a release Tuesday.

“Thanks to our provincial partner, this project will help create local jobs and increase local production,” Naturally Norfolk CEO Jim Irvin said in the province’s release. “This innovative facility will help put Ontario produce in more stores.”

The project is expected to create 48 job opportunities right away and up to 85 more jobs within the next five years, the province said.

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