Morgan McNeil and Tyler Jollimore are making and selling treats, made with apple pomace, for dogs and horses.
“There’s a lot of pomace left during cider production and it’s considered waste,” said McNeil, from Hantsport. “I think some is fed to pigs but a lot is just dumped in a field.”
She and Jollimore were part of a five-member team who took part in Sprint Ag, a competition hosted by Cultiv8 and Farm Credit Canada, last fall. Participants were given two months to come up with a solution to a problem identified by businesses. Their team won first prize for coming up with the idea to create horse treats from the pomace left over when Muwin Estate Wines created cider.
“One of the mentors suggested the dog market,” said McNeil. “We thought it was already overcrowded with products but decided to try it and they’re selling. We never expected it to go this far but it’s really taken off.
They’re now getting pomace from Stirlings and they freeze it until they’re ready to make treats. Seeds are removed before the ingredients are mixed and baked.
McNeil said the recipe has been changed since they made the first treats.
“We’re really experimenting and playing with things; seeing what customers like and don’t like,” she said. “If it doesn’t work out quite the way we like we adjust ingredients. We add more molasses for horse treats and more peanut butter for dog treats.”
Dog treats are also available wrapped in bacon or Tofurkey.
There were discussions with local veterinarians to ensure the treats would be healthy, and the students plan to work with Perennia to find a way to give them a local shelf life.
They began selling the treats in May, at the Truro Farmers’ Market, and have had several repeat customers.
“I encourage people to give feedback, even if it’s negative,” said Jollimore, originally from Portuguese Cove. “If people don’t let us know what they don’t like we won’t know what to change.”
Since their first day at the market they have made their display more attractive, adding a tablecloth, banner, business cards and bags bearing their logo. They’ve also started promoting their product through Facebook and Instagram.
“We live in a society that kind of promotes waste,” said Jollimore. “It’s easier to throw some things out than find a way to use, or repair, them. There’s a lot of edible food thrown out and I think we should be working to find ways to use it.
“It takes people with vision to see the potential. Food waste is untapped potential that just needs to be realized.”
The Pomace Company Facebook page can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/PomaceCo/