SEAFORTH, ONT. -- It’s time for the bean harvest, which means Broadgrain Commodities elevator in Seaforth is working overtime, accepting beans for the world.

“This year we’re going to have edible beans that will be going to parts of Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East, China, South America and across the United States and Mexico,” says Robert Anwender, senior director of Broadgrain’s Feed Division.

Broadgrain is putting the final touches on a multi-million dollar expansion of their Seaforth operations to accept a wide variety of beans. Black, navy, cranberry and dark kidney beans, to name a few.

“All these products can go anywhere from can and package quality to also baked beans and refried beans. Soybeans can go into soy milk, tofu and miso, to different parts of the world,” says Anwender.

Broadgrain is trying to capitalize on an international demand for Ontario-grown edible beans. To Seaforth, Broadgrain is bringing in edible beans from as far away Collingwood and Peterborough to meet demand.

“At times it seems saturated, but it still is a very small market when you consider there’s just over 100,000 acres of edible beans grown in Ontario when there’s six million acres of arable land available in the province. It’s a very niche market, but very well supplied,” says Anwender.

But they chose Seaforth as their central bean base because some of the best beans in the world are grown within a few kilometres of the Huron County town.

“This area, within one-and-a-half hours of Seaforth, is where the majority of the production is. Edible beans, [Identity-preserved] soybeans, general grains. This area has done very well over the years delivering premium quality agricultural products to the world,” he says.

Seaforth may be their agricultural base, but Broadgrain has offices in Nigeria, Algeria, China and Argentina. They, and other grain marketers, are quickly expanding to meet the world’s interest in Ontario grown edible beans.