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Gojoy: Bringing China’s Hottest Superfood to B.C.

Gojoy Berries Peter Breederland

Here at The Good Stuff, we know that what comes out of your blender is only as good as what goes into it. So we're profiling some of the great B.C. suppliers we buy from. Next up: Gojoy!

Gojoy’s founder, Peter Breederland, set out to do the impossible: take an exotic Asian superfood and grow it right here in B.C. Thanks to his expert background in farming (and his perseverance), he succeeded where others failed.

Gojoy grows (you guessed it) Goji berries, one of the hottest berries on the market. We put Gojoy’s gojis in our Madagascar smoothie.

So what makes them so special?

I’ll let their team tell it:

Mike: What is a goji berry, and what are its biggest benefits?

Gojoy Goji Berries

Summer from Gojoy: They are tiny, powerful red berries that are traditionally grown in Asia. Goji berries (or gojis as we like to call them) are known to be among the earth's superfoods.

That’s because gojis are a nutrient-rich food containing multiple health and wellness-promoting properties. Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and carotenoids, in China they call it the “happy berry” because of the surge of energy it provides.

How did Gojoy Berries start?

When Peter discovered goji and their 'superfood' benefits, he was awakened with purpose. Gojis were growing in demand and studies were proving that the little red berries not only tasted good, but were incredibly good for us.

Peter began to see a bigger picture.

Not only could he be first to market in Canada, he could do something few farmers get to do in the 21st century: cultivate an entirely new product.

What was the process of bringing an originally Asian-grown fruit to B.C like? 

Peter had been a bell pepper farmer for over 20 years, and he used vacant acres of his land to experiment with test Goji batches.

It may seem like a strange extension, but it came naturally - Goji berries and peppers are part of the same family of plants: the “nightshade” (Solanacea) family.

Test batches work by testing one growing variable at a time (for example, how it’s watered), and seeing how it affects the crop. The seeds take one full year to grow to fruit, so this was an arduous process. It took him about 5 years to get the crop to be ready to sell. In 2014, he rolled it out as Gojoy!

What types of Goji product do you sell?

We have four products for sale right now:

We also just launched our U-Pick program on the farm, and we’ll be rolling out a goji pepper jelly soon. We also have inquiries for goji teas, sauces, chocolates… We have big plans!

What growing practices do you use?

Although we are not certified organic, we have chosen a sustainable method of agriculture called the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, which uses the least harmful methods available to control continual attacks on our crops. We adhere to B.C. and Canada’s requirements when applying agricultural chemicals and take great precautions to protect the land, our customers, staff, and family.

Other than smoothies (of course), what are some of the ways people use Gojoy berries?

Gojoy Berries Salad

In salads, sauces, chutneys, dips, and soups! The biggest difference between gojis and other antioxidant fruits is that the berries are low in sugar and will not sweeten a dish. We encourage people to add a handful of gojis to their favourites dishes for that extra boost of power, without overpowering the flavor.

Here are two Breederland staples, created by Peter’s wife Denise:

Goji Mango Salsa Recipe

Goji Vegetarian Chili

We’ve also collaborated with Faspa and Co’s Head Chef Bonnie Friesen to create some amazing dishes:

Goji Red Pepper Hummus

Goji Carbonara Pasta

Coconut Pumpkin Goji Curry

The most unexpected use we’ve seen? Probably seafood tacos. You can see more on our recipe page!

 

Want to learn more about B.C.’s smoothie suppliers? Have a read about Discovery Organics, B.C.’s fairtrade pioneers!

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