The decision to uproot our lives and move across the country with a baby to start a new adventure was a gradual one. James had always had a passion for soil and he studied soil/agriculture in University. Catherine had always been interested in cooking and sourcing the best ingredients. Together, we began to learn about our food system and we became eager to grow our own food. We wanted to eat food that was grown using organic farming practices.
Over time, the idea to grow organic food for ourselves in our backyard gardens grew into a bigger dream to start a vegetable farm so we could provide this sort of food to other people as well. We knew people in BC who were on the cutting edge of small scale, sustainable farming and we were intrigued by the lifestyle and the chance to use our passions for our life’s work.
So in February 2012 we packed up our belongings into crates and made the journey from BC to Ontario to start a market garden, CSA farm on the land James grew up on. The first year was a difficult transition, as was to be expected. We lived in town and drove back and forth to the farm several times a day, we worked long hours with deadlines ever pressing. Catherine took on the challenge of getting the business side of things up and running while staying at home to raise our first daughter and James dove in head first putting all he had learned firsthand and through books into practice on his own farm venture.
Our first year we started on 1.5 acres, had 15 CSA customers and we chose to stick it out at the Woodstock Farmers market even though sales were slow. James also worked off the farm part time to supplement our income. But as we learned more with each passing year, the soil health improved as did our vegetable quality. We were so grateful to have loyal customers stick it out with us as we did our best to improve as quickly as we could. So many of our customers recognized the importance of nutrient dense, clean organically grown vegetables and that encouraged us to continue to learn and grow even more.
In our 3rd year, our CSA pickup location switched from the parking lot of the old Home Hardware to Inside U on Peel St, making it a much more convenient pit stop for our customers. Our stand at the Farmers Market expanded to two tables and a thriving customer base. James continued to make improvements on the farm setting up more hoophouses and trying to automate water systems and building a seed nursery. With each improvement our farm’s efficiency increased.
As our farm grew, so did our family. We now have 4 kids. We operate on just over 2 acres of land, feed about 150 families through our CSA program and farmers market. We are grateful for the connections we have within the community of Woodstock and we are happy to provide chemical-free, fresh, nutrient dense vegetables to our neighbours and friends!