ASSINIBOIA - Over a century ago when Dallas Moneo’s grandparents homesteaded in the Assiniboia area, they sowed their first seed, hoping to see enough of a crop to pay the bills and stay on the land. That first crop in their back yard would either spell out a promising future or send them packing.
They tilled their soul into the soil, and harvested the pride of a job well-done and a wholesome lifestyle. Over time, crops flourished, and failed in cycles, but his ancestors - like so many pioneers - persevered. Markets opened up far and wide and the necessity of growing your own food declined as crops prospered and insurance companies sprouted. While the agricultural industry still depends on foreign markets, the trend of home-grown food has become popular once again.
“We see consumers wanting to know where their food comes from,” says Dallas, co-owner of Century Farm Foods. “Plant based foods and plant protein is a very popular market right now.” They provide financially feasible opportunities to diversify your product, and they appeal to family’s health concerns.
Century Farms is proud to offer a product that is grown on their own family farm in the Assiniboia area. “We have done extensive consumer studies and believe we are offering a superior product with traceability and family values.”
Century farms has started packaging their products and will soon be selling them directly to the consumer.
“We are starting with Kabuli Chickpea, Large Green Lentil, Red Lentil and Split Red Lentil. We are packaging in 900 gram (two pound) stand up resealable pouches under our own brand.”
It has been a long road to get to this point. It started over a century ago with Dallas’ great grandparents Stephan and Anastasia Moneo, and grandparents William and Muriel Moneo, who passed that pioneering spirit down to his parents Todd and Jackie.
“I am a fourth generation producer on our family farm. Our father taught my brother Jasper and I that if we want something, we need to go out and work for it. That is what I’m doing with the brand. Nobody was going to do it for me. My brother and I have decided to continue the operation.
“I have an entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to challenge myself with a value-add project to complement our core farming business.The initial plan was to export bulk grain via container internationally. This is a saturated market right now with very slim margin and high risk. We pursued it and are still actively pursuing it with our team but our main focus has shifted into retail packaging for the North American market.”
People want to know where their food is coming from these days and this trend is not slowing down but building a consumer product from scratch has taken time and research. “It has always been in the back of my mind to sell directly to consumers.
“ºWe are currently shipping 100 per cent of our product overseas but the dynamic in North America has changed with a vast number of immigrants making Canada and USA home. Our customers are literally in our backyard now so we decided to focus on supplying a domestic market with our product under our own brand Century Farm Foods.”
“Two of my partners for Century Farm Foods are based in Toronto.They bring 60 combined years on the distribution side of the business with major grocer networks.The other partner is one of my best friends, Kevin Good, originally from Assiniboia. With experience in Corporate Development, Kevin is our E-commerce guy and is currently building out our online platform.”
“We have plans to expand our product line to include yellow peas, green peas, pearled barley, durum, canola oil and pulse flours. We want to be the brand that consumers recognize and trust in the market place. We hope we can penetrate the market enough to warrant our own facility here in Assiniboia, and accommodate our growing needs.The facility design and feasibility study is already complete. It would be a big win for the Town of Assiniboia.”
“We are very excited to be in the packaging stage and are looking forward to the future! From Our Family to Yours is our motto. What started as farm to table over a century ago has revived, and is our way of growing sustainable futures and healthy families.”
Residents can look for Century Farm Foods in local Co-ops, E-Commerce, and major grocers.