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Erin Crampton is the owner and chief instigator of Crampton’s Market, whose tagline is “We sell good food to nice people.” I recently had the opportunity to chat with Erin about her latest venture, an apple cider press.
Where does this passion for local food come from? Erin laughs at the big question. She grew up on a farm outside Notre-Dame-des-Lourdes, where her parents ran a mixed cow-calf operation, raised grain, strawberries, raspberries and saskatoons, and because they weren’t busy enough, started making jam in their commercially licensed kitchen.
So Erin comes from an entrepreneurial, agricultural spirit and knew lots of people in that realm.
When she moved to the city for university, she started working for the owner of what is now Crampton’s Market. Erin loved that business so much that she connected the owner with her parents, who were trying to get off the farm. Her parents bought the business and Erin ran it for them for a year while she was a university student. After another year of being away and doing her own thing, she took the opportunity and bought the business from her parents.
Erin loves being able to bring what the province has to the urban population of Winnipeg. The province has so much, and people are starting to recognise it. In the past, the farmers didn’t recognise the opportunities that were out there. Erin loves how it’s all changed. There’s an opportunity and a moment right now, when farmers can go off on different tangents and explore different opportunities, which people are now willing to support.
When I asked Erin why they started the cider press, she joked that it’s “because we have rocks for brains, apparently.” Erin has always bought apple cider from John Boy Farms, and she loves Jean-Guy Cote and his wife Ainsley. They are great people and she loved what they were doing. This spring, unfortunately, their press burnt down. There was an electrical fire and the press was part of a larger business. The insurance paid for Jean-Guy’s part of the business, but the owner of the larger building decided not to rebuild.
Erin spent a few months trying to find them another building or to partner them with FortWhyteAlive or something, because she felt it was so important. Everybody, she says, has all these apples and nobody knows what to do with them anymore. It was an important resource.
All of these attempts fell through and at some point she told Jean-Guy that she wanted to buy his business and move forward. This did not work out for various reasons, but she had already put together a business plan and she asked if he would mind if she moved into the marketplace. He agreed, and even asked her to press his apples for him.
Crampton’s is a seasonal business, so every year they are restarting the business. They have partnered with one of their employees, a 22-year-old woman named Jaycee Catt, who has been fabulous. She was looking for something more than just being an employee, and she is very much the driving force behind this.
When I asked Erin what she would like to tell our Fruit Share readers, she said, “Tell people to give us a call. We don’t have the capacity of the previous press so we need to be more scheduled, but it is very important that this food does not go to waste. It is being used and produced in a safe manner. We are provincially inspected, and we want to make sure that it doesn’t go to waste.”
Custom Apple Pressing
Crampton’s Market charges $2/liter of juice processed
- Your apples, your juice. 250 lbs minimum (i.e. one batch) will yield approximately 66 liters of juice and cost approximately $133.
- Crampton’s apples. Purchase a 15-lbs lot of Manitoba spray-free apples and Crampton’s will press it into 4 liters of juice for you. Cost is $15 and will yield 4 liters of juice.
- Your apples, mixed juice. 15 lbs minimum. Crampton’s mixes your apples in with other small batches of similar variety apples to make up a 250-lbs pressing batch. Your share of the cider will be approximately 4 liters of juice per 15 lbs of apples. Cost is $2/liter of juice pressed.
For more information, visit www.cramptonsmarket.com/custom-apple-pressing.