Carnarvon brewery scores local food grant
April 30, 2014
By Zach Cox
The Boshkung Brewing Company, located in Carnarvon, has been informed that it will be receiving $111,500 in funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food’s Local Food Fund. The funding is for assisting the expansion and retrofitting of the brewery premises as well as with the hosting of the local farmers’ market.
Documentation on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food website indicated that the Local Food Fund is an initiative in place to “provide funding for innovative projects that support the achievement of increased awareness, demand for and access to local food.”
Blake Paton, president of the Boshkung Brewing Company explained that he submitted a funding application last October, and was pleased when there was a request for more information. “They don’t ask for more information if they’re going to say no right away,” he says.
Paton explains that the goal of the Local Food Fund is to “draw direct contact between producers and consumers,” and to get “from farm to fork a little faster,” and he feels that the Boshkung Brewing Company was a perfect fit for the grant.
Having grown his own hops for 15 years now, Paton is excited for the chance to expand production. Hops are a viable crop for the Haliburton County area as they don’t require much land, and Paton has provided various landowners and businesses, such as the Haliburton Forest, with hops rhizomes so they can start their own production that the brewing company will then purchase.
“It’s a nice little symbiosis,” Paton says, indicating that the plan is to give spent grain from the brewery to a local farmer as food for pigs, pigs that will then be purchased by the Rhubarb restaurant, operated by Christoph Carl, that resides above the brewery. “We can have beer pig,” Paton laughs.
The plan with the farmers’ market is to continue facilitating the event that has become a popular local feature over the past few years, as well as providing additional space in the brewery sales area where local agricultural products can be featured.
“We’ve promised to increase access to local products,” says Paton.
Paton was informed that they would be receiving the $111,500 in funding several weeks ago, but was asked to refrain from publicizing the fact until the province made an official announcement. Once he had confirmation that funding would be on the way, though, he was able to make some purchases that had been postponed, including a new low pressure steam boiler that will allow the brewery to produce “better beer than if there were a direct flame under the kettle.”
“As with any other startup, you have to count every penny,” he says, explaining why there was a minor purchasing delay. With the funding on the way, preparations have resumed. “We really, really appreciate it,” Paton says of the funding.
“I feel badly for the delay, but we think it will be worth the wait,” he says. As of right now, the brewery is in the final stages of both the hook-up and licensing, and he expects that everything should be up and running by the May long weekend.
Haliburton County has also received notice from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food that they will be receiving funding from the Local Food Fund. $14,000 is being awarded to aid in the creation of a detailed culinary tourism action plan involving a mapping assessment and consultations in order to capture regional food and culinary tourism attractions.