This Saturday, Take a Journey to the Centre of Ontario's Food Universe

Ontario Food Terminal Opens its Doors - Enabling the Public to Open their Minds

TORONTO, Sept. 19, 2012 /CNW/ - Do you hunger to know how fresh produce makes its way to Ontario grocery stores every day? Fresh Fest will feed your curiosity with an unforgettable Saturday on September 22nd from 11am to 3pm when the Ontario Food Terminal (OFT) opens its doors to the public for the first time to support FoodShare, a non-profit organization that provides 141,000 students with healthy meals.

This is an opportunity to awaken Ontarians to their 'unknown' dependence on the OFT while enjoying some of their stock in trade.  Rivalling the activity and excitement of the Toronto Stock Exchange, the OFT deftly 'trades' in 5.3 million lbs of produce daily and most transactions occur before sunrise. Consider that in the wee morning hours every Monday to Friday, while the city sleeps, hundreds of dedicated produce workers are bustling behind the walls of that unassuming 40 acre edifice, adjacent to the Gardiner Expressway, to provide Ontarians with a daily bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Now, the public can meet these unsung heroes, namely, food distributors, suppliers and local farmers and gain an education of the food chain while also contributing to the sharing of fresh produce with children  in need.

"Fresh Fest aims to raise awareness of the health benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables while also supporting FoodShare, which helps to provide children in need with their share of fresh produce," said Joe DaSilva, Vice-President, Ippolito Produce Ltd. & President, Toronto Wholesale Produce Association.  "The money raised at Fresh Fest will help support FoodShare's programs, which include providing healthy meals to Ontario students in need."

For a nominal entrance fee - $5 per child under 10, $10 per adult, the public will be able to sample fresh fruits and vegetables, enjoy a full lunch, engage in fun hands-on literacy activities, cooking demonstrations by President's Choice Chef Tom Filippou, as well as face painting, games, music and more.

Event details:
Where: Ontario Food Terminal, 165 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M8Y 1H8
When: Saturday, September 22, 2012
Time: 11 am to 3 pm
Cost: $5 per child under 10 / $10 per adult
Tickets: Available online at OR at the entrance gate of the Ontario
  Food Terminal on event day

About FoodShare:

FoodShare is a non-profit community food organization whose partnership with Toronto school boards and Toronto Public Health ensures approx. 141,000 students each day enjoy healthy meals. Some of these children might not enjoy this opportunity otherwise. Fresh fruits and vegetables are sourced and delivered directly to schools to fulfill the needs of breakfast and snack programs throughout the Toronto area.

They also provide food education to schools through curriculum connections from Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12 to cultivate food literacy. The Good Food Box program they operate, delivers 50,000 boxes of fresh produce at affordable prices to 7,000 families every year.

Fresh Facts About Ontario Food Terminal:

  • the Ontario Food Terminal is owned and operated by the Ontario Food Terminal Board
  • it was opened in 1954 and is 40 acres in size
  • it is the only food terminal in Canada, and is the third largest in North America
  • the Terminal has 22 warehouse tenants, 50 office tenants, 400 Farmers' Market tenants and over 5,000 registered wholesale buyers making use of the facility
  • those buyers range from Windsor to the west, Fort Albany to the north, Fort Erie to the south and the Ottawa to the east
  • fruits, vegetables and horticultural products also travel beyond Ontario's borders as there are buyers who provide produce to Quebec, the Atlantic provinces and the U.S. as well
  • over 975,000 tons of produce was brought into the terminal which on average represents 5.3 million pounds of produce per day
  • when compared to other food terminals around the world it is the only one with a wholesale Farmers' Market on 10 acres on the same site as the traditional warehouse facilities
  • there is a central cold storage of over 100,000 square feet where state of the art cooling allows for storage on site for both selling groups
  • the ethnic diversity of the area is well represented, as fruits and vegetables arrive from all over the world
  • the increasing demand for "ethnic produce" is met by either the local growers or by the importation of those vegetables
  • the Ontario Food Terminal is a unique and important part of the infrastructure of Ontario, if not Canada

SOURCE: Ontario Produce Marketing Association

For further information:

Ian MacKenzie
Ontario Produce Marketing Association
416-259-7827, ext. 231
cell 905-979-8712

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