The Made in Manitoba Expo is happening today in the MNP Building on the island in Portage la Prairie. 

Mary Buhler is with Poochie Paws Bakery being highlighted there. The business is just coming up to their one-year anniversary next month.

"A lot of our ingredients are homegrown," says Buhler. "For instance, we grow our own apples and I make my own applesauce as the ingredients in some of our our treats. Our oats come from the Manitoba area."

They're based just outside Portage, and she notes the Expo allows them to showcase their products and allow them to interact with other entrepreneurs. Buhler says she's excited to see lots of faces post COVID. 

Mary BuhlerMary Buhler

Percy and Beverly Phillips own the Prairie Quinoa. They're also going to be there. He notes they began trials to see if quinoa would here back in 2012. 

"We knew it would grow because there were people cultivating it in Saskatchewan, and it had been cultivated in small acres. But getting a hold of seed was very difficult and I got my hands on one pound of seed to start with and then just and went from there," says Phillips. "We have three products. One is obviously quinoa grown in Manitoba. Most of it was grown either in the MacGregor and the Notre Dame area. Quinoa doesn't need to be rinsed before you cook it, like much of the imported stuff. It can be cooked like rice and it stays distinct when it's cooked. It doesn't get soft and mushy."

He notes his second product is operated out of his son-in-law's Farm near Bagot. 

Percy Phillips

"They're the only farm in the province that both cultivates hemp and also processes hemp on their farm. They are vertically integrated," adds Phillips. "They cultivate hemp, they grow it, they shell it on their farm. The third one is a product that we've come up with reasonably recently called Assiniboia River Hot Cereal. It's a combination of quinoa steel cut oats and flax from prairie flax."

Phillips says you can buy the quinoa and the hot cereal at Homestead Co-op. He adds he's looking forward to exposing his products and doing their best to sell some and portray them as well as they can. He says he also wants to explore, adding the most fascinating part are customers. 

Kory Jonasson is here today with his family operation JE Icelandics, and they have Icelandic Sheep from which they make their products. 

They make hand cream and skin cream. He says they also make yarn and mitts from tanned hides. 

"We have tanned hides with the wool still on, so we use pretty much everything we can off the sheep," says Jonasson. 

He adds exposure is the key thing about these expos. Jonasson says they're trying to get back to their routine after COVID slowed things down. 

The last time they were at an Expo, they enjoyed talking to people, noting that's the big thing. Seeing people interested in your product makes it all worthwhile.

Philip Ronald is from River Bend Orchards in Portage and it's their fist time at the Expo. They produce fruit and berries and make pies, jams and toppings.

"We're producing a lot of fruit, which is the raw material," says Ronald. "But without the value added products, there's just no way to deal with that amount of fruits. You can only sell so much fresh and so much frozen. So, we need that secondary processing that turns our berries into pies, jams and toppings, and the like. So, the Expo is very important to us. "

Ronald says their products taste great but are also quite healthy. He encourages you to come to the Expo.

"You're going to come across some fascinating products. You are also supporting the local economy," notes Ronald. "Many of these products trace back to farms that are just outside your door. It's a feel good story for Manitoba."