Farm Gate to Worldwide
Our story on diversification started back in 1997 when we decided to switch from grain farming to growing saskatoon berries. Why, you ask? To increase sustainability, reduce our environmental footprint, operate a family-run business, and provide local jobs. Grow it, process it, and market it. And…we thought it would be easy! This presentation focuses on the trials and tribulations we faced along the journey and lessons learned.
Sandra Purdy is the Chief Operating Officer of Prairie Berries Inc. She has been in the saskatoon berry business since 1993 when her and her husband made the decision to diversify their grain farm. Previous to starting the berry orchard she worked as a Continuous Improvement Manager and Sales Manager for SASKTEL for almost 25 years. Sandra is also the President of the Saskatoon Berry Council of Canada, providing the leadership to help shape the future of the saskatoon berry industry. Her leadership to the industry has focused on the roadmap to develop a strong brand image and international awareness of saskatoon berries. The goal she established back in 1996 for her own company was simple and has not changed over the years. To develop saskatoon berries into functional foods and nutraceutical bio-actives that contribute to health and vitality. Sandra has had many ups and downs in her journey to build a saskatoon berry industry and will often admit that if she had known what she knows now, she might not have taken on the challenge to build a niche industry for the saskatoon berries. However, that being said, Sandra has preserved in the face of adversity in both her own business and in developing the industry as a whole. To this date she continues to provide her expertise and passion to see her goal through to the end, and only looks back occasionally just to ponder how far she has come.