Official opening of Acadian Wild Blueberry Co. processing plant19 July 2016
SAINT-ISIDORE (GNB) – Provincial representatives joined officials of the Acadian Wild Blueberry Co. for the grand opening of its new state-of-the-art processing plant.
The company is a division of Oxford Frozen Foods, the world’s largest grower and processor of wild blueberries. Oxford Frozen Foods had committed to building a new facility in the area.
“New Brunswick is well positioned for growth in the blueberry industry as we have the land, the climate and the people,” said Economic Development Minister Francine Landry, who is also minister responsible for Opportunities NB. “By helping businesses like the Acadian Wild Blueberry Co., we can move forward with our goal of becoming a global leader in wild blueberry production and exports.”
The plant is the most modern blueberry processing facility in the world. Its two freezing tunnels can process up to 1.5 million pounds of fresh blueberries per day during the harvest season and its cold storage holds 45 million pounds of product.
The plant uses technology to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly. It uses CO2 instead of ammonia for its freezing capacity as well as high energy efficiency features like LED lighting and efficiency control systems.
“This new facility will help the Acadian Wild Blueberry Co. increase its competitiveness and its exports, which, in turn, will create jobs,” said Landry. “The jobs created at the new plant will greatly help the families and the economy in the region.”
The plant is opening a year ahead of schedule to meet the demand for increased processing capacity from local blueberry growers. The company is employing 70 full-time workers and more than 200 seasonal workers, with more jobs expected to be created as more land comes into production over the next several years.
“Our company has invested more than $70 million in the local community over the last three years, primarily to service our growers,” said John Bragg, chair and co-CEO of the company. “We are proud of our strong relationships with our growers and our long association with the community, and we are proud of this factory. This is a strong demonstration of our long-term commitment to the growers, to the region and to the industry.”
The provincial government contributed a $37.5 million interest-bearing repayable loan towards the construction of the processing plant.
Opportunities NB is a Crown corporation that seeks to attract and support opportunities to grow the economy and create jobs. It provides support services for businesses across the province.