Looking north as you head through Acme on Highway 575, travelers may have noticed a large prefabricated concrete structure being erected.
Don’t be alarmed, Acme is just adding a little piece of Italy.
Sunterra has teamed up with a family owned business in Modena Italy to produce authentic high quality cured Italian pork products, marketed under the label Soleterra d’Italia.
Dave Price, director at Sunterra explains that international trade discussions between Canada and the European Union spurred them to explore this direction.
“When the trade agreement with Europe was being negotiated, we started looking for an opportunity to sell some of our fresh pork into Europe in specialized markets, and we connected with an Italian family that produces a lot of prosciutto and salami in Italy, and they were interested in our product,” Price tells the Mail.
The Simonini family has been producing specialty cured meats since 1927, over four generations. This includes everything from mortadella to pancetta.
“They came to Canada, had a look at the quality of our meat here. The conversation went from there, they were looking for an opportunity for some investments outside Italy, and we ended up with an arrangement that they would partner with us to produce some Canadian product here,” said Price.
Last fall they began work on the new facility in Acme. The first phase is approximately 50,000 square feet, with a second phase in the future that could almost double the size. The Simonini family helped to design the layout of the plant and helped to source specialized equipment.
“There is lot of product that is made faster, and shortening up cure times, but that is the beauty of working with these guys, they will make sure it is done right, here in Canada, and we would expect Canadians and North Americans to enjoy Canadian Based Italian meat products,” said Price.
The facility is a processing facility. There is no slaughter done on site. Cuts of meat will be taken from Sunterra’s Trochu plant to the new facility where it will go through a natural dry cutting process, that has been perfected over a number of generations.
The relationship establishes a presence in Canada for the products, and they are also looking forward to a Sunterra presence in Europe.
“When the trade agreements and regulations are settled and the product can move, we can expect to put some of our product on to them on a competitive basis. In the meantime we are actually importing some of their product to help develop the market ahead of ours being created here,” said Price. “In our stores here are prosciutto and salami products from Italy, and later, of course, it will be a very similar product using Canadian pork.”
“The quality of their product will be unique in the marketplace.”