80 Acres Farms to bring Toronto salad dressing business to Hamilton

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Hamilton-based 80 Acres Farms has acquired Mother Raw, a premium salad dressing business from Toronto-based Reunion Foods Inc.

The dressing has been included in 80 Acres Farms’ salad kits since they debuted last year.

“Working closely with Mother Raw, we fell in love with their people, their products and their commitment to fresh, healthy ingredients,” said 80 Acres Farms co-founder and CEO Mike Zelkind. “Through vertical integration, the acquisition will streamline operations, expedite innovation and equip us as we grow our national footprint.”

The partnership between 80 Acres Farms and Reunion Foods was formed in 2022 when the vertical farming company began developing its salad kits. Mother Raw, which was introduced into the market in 2019, has supported the kits’ expansion into more than 1,000 retailers across the eastern U.S. as 80 Acres Farms’s exclusive salad dressing supplier.

It’s unknown if the acquisition would equate to new jobs. A company spokesman said that decision was still being evaluated.

80 Acres Farms was founded in 2015 in Cincinnati as a startup indoor farming business and has grown to one of the three largest vertical farming companies in the United States. They’ve been based in Hamilton since 2019, with their corporate headquarters on the seventh floor of the Hamilton city building at 345 High St.

The vertical farming industry has faced challenges nationally in the last year.

Zelkind told Hamilton City Council earlier this year that to meet demand “we need to keep growing, we need to keep investing in new technology and new jobs.”

The operations of the salad dressing production will be relocated to Hamilton, and this move now positions 80 Acres Farms to expand its salad kit product line and develop dressings in-house, using ingredients from the vertical farming company’s precision-controlled farms.

“We are thrilled to know our beloved brand is in the hands of an incredible team with an aligned purpose and will continue to thrive in the U.S. market under their leadership,” said Kristi Knowles, CEO of Reunion Foods Inc.

80 Acres Farms is Hamilton’s third-largest electric consumer and has properties in downtown Hamilton and on Enterprise Drive off Tylersville Road.

Hamilton City Council recently approved amending the company’s Utility Economic Development Agreement twice in the past two years to incentivize the company’s future growth. Hamilton and 80 Acres entered into the utility EDA in October 2018, which is designed to encourage job growth and increased electric consumption in the city.

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