Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Delicious Success

dried cranberries

When David Ernst and his wife Evelyn first contemplated buying some boggy land across the road from their Nova Scotia home, they had no idea how quickly a global business could take root there.

Today, their company Terra Beata Farms ― taken from the Latin for “blessed earth” ― has nearly 50 full and part-time employees and gross annual sales of nearly $4 million, with over one hundred full container loads of cranberries shipped all around the world during the past year alone.

“I had heard of a course on how to grow cranberries that piqued my interest,” David explains. “I took the course, bought the bog – and 16 years and many small steps later, here we are.”

In addition to servicing their many global orders for frozen Atlantic Canadian cranberries, Terra Beata has developed a whole line of value-added cranberry edibles – including low sugar dried fruit, not from concentrate pure juices, and gourmet preserves.

According to David and Evelyn, participating in an ACOA-led trade mission helped spread the word about their berry products to international markets.

“We travelled to the U.K. in 2012 to meet potential buyers and investigate local markets for our cranberries,” says David. “One memorable meeting was in a 1,000-year-old town. After arriving back on Canadian soil and working through the quality approval process, we received our first orders from that customer.”

“We’ve also formed relationships with other berry farmers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, since working together makes us all stronger,” says Evelyn.

“Thanks to support we received to expand our building and purchase more equipment, we are able to increase our processing capacity and buy blueberries, cherries, apples and raspberries from other farms. We have expanded our product lines with more delicious Atlantic Canadian fruit – such as our pure tart cherry juice.”

Just as important as their diversification effort, David and Evelyn also appreciated the advice they’ve received from ACOA staff.

“As a company, we have a customer-driven philosophy,” explains Evelyn. “So when it comes to working with others in our community, we really appreciate ACOA’s enthusiasm and support.”

It’s hard not to be inspired by the initiative and innovation of the “little cranberry company that could,” as Terra Beata continues to expand its product lines and markets both globally and in Canada.

“In 2013, we launched a line of completely unsweetened dried cranberries, which we are now selling to a tea maker in Serbia and a nutrition bar company in Ontario,” says David.

Just goes to show that with a little versatility and hard work, a rural bog in the land of the Bluenose can grow into a delicious, international success.

Published January 15, 2014