Nature Fresh Farms has recently teamed up with Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd., and the whisky producer is now providing the greenhouse operation with a renewable fuel source in the form of whisky cull barrels.
Beginning in 2018, Hiram Walker & Sons reached out to Nature Fresh Farms seeking help in reducing its surplus of whisky cull barrels. To date, Hiram Walker has provided Nature Fresh Farms with over 25,000 barrels as fuel for its biomass boiler. The successfulness of the arrangement has expanded the program, where in addition to the barrels, Hiram Walker sends other scrap wood material, including used bungs, wood shavings and damaged pallets.
Every month Nature Fresh Farms receives approximately 400 barrels that are shredded and stockpiled for the colder seasons. The wood chips are fed to the biomass boiler’s fire box, heating the water that is pumped through rails throughout each row of plants to warm the greenhouse. To date they have burned over 25,000 barrels equaling about 1,125 tons of wood, producing about 20,000 gigajoules equivalent to nearly 520,000 cubic meters of natural gas. By burning the 25,000 barrels it saves Nature Fresh Farms 520,000 cubic meters of natural gas. That would heat the average home in Canada for 192 years, saving 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
“The partnership between Hiram Walker and Nature Fresh Farms can best be described as a win-win situation for both companies,” said Darren Taylor, customer service and planning, bulk operations at Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. “Hiram Walker has an environmentally friendly way to dispose of barrels and Nature Fresh Farms receives a good supply of clean-burning oak wood.”
The two companies will continue to effectively work together to recycle wood and the metal whisky barrel rings, thus reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. This partnership allows both companies to maintain their values of sustainability while finding new opportunities to integrate eco-friendly alternatives within their operations.
“We are in an industry that has the capacity to produce significant positive change,” said Dave Froese, energy manager at Nature Fresh Farms. “Teaming up with Hiram Walker & Sons gives us the opportunity to continue to make a difference by reducing the amount of materials that end up in landfills.”
Using biomass boilers to create greener energy is just one part of the overall energy strategy at Nature Fresh Farms. Nature Fresh Farms has prioritized sustainability to make impactful efforts, and that commitment has only strengthened. Marked by its 20 years of growing, Nature Fresh Farms continues to innovate and introduce more viable and sustainable growing and packaging solutions.