Saint-Isidore, N.B. – A grower and processor of wild blueberries is investing $184 million in New Brunswick, helping to create 300 jobs.
Oxford Frozen Foods Ltd. is planning to construct a new processing facility and develop wild blueberry fields on the Acadian Peninsula.
The company will begin construction of a $50-million, 140,000-sq.-ft. processing facility in the spring of 2014.
The company says it will also invest in new equipment and expects to create 300 jobs over a 10-year period.
“It is now 45 years since I have been buying wild blueberries in this area,” said John Bragg, founder, chair, co-CEO and president of Oxford Frozen Foods.
“I worked directly with two pioneers of the wild blueberry industry in this area – Robert Breau and Omer Savoie. Their sons, Lorne Breau and Louis Savoie, are here today. Ten years ago, we took over the operations of what is now Peninsula Foods. I am extremely pleased with the association we have with many growers. I firmly believe we have brought considerable value to the grower community through the transfer of technical advice and direct grower service operations. This is in addition to providing a ready market for the wild blueberries produced in this region.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Invest NB is providing a $37.5 million interest-bearing repayable loan toward the construction of the processing facility.
An even exchange of 6,285 hectares (or 15,712 acres) of Crown land for private land between the company and the Department of Natural Resources is also part of the agreement.
The investments are expected to contribute up to $8.6 million annually to the province’s gross domestic product.
Oxford Frozen Foods has operations in Oxford, N.S., and Cherryfield, Maine, and eight manufacturing facilities and two large farming operations in Atlantic Canada and the U.S. The company also produces frozen carrots, onion rings and battered appetizers.