Local Agriculture

The (health promoting qualities of the) colour purple

For 28 years, Shelley and Tony Spruit have grown wheat, soybeans and corn — mainly for animal feed and ethanol — making their Winchester-area farm typical of those in Eastern Ontario.

Two years ago, they decided to start going against the grain.

They bought an additional 50 acres to dedicate to heritage and non-genetically-modified crops for food. They now grow some astounding and colourful things: glossy dark purple corn that dates back centuries in Peru; graceful hull-less barley developed in Canada; stunning Ethiopian purple barley; beautiful blue Utrecht wheat; mammoth Russian sunflowers with golden heads as big as beachballs.