Our family is fourth-generation produce farmers that have sold at local farmers markets and most recently through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
Linda’s mother and grandmother sold their mixed veggies during the summer and canned fruits and vegetables during the winter. Dale’s mother sold green onions and sweet corn and his grandfather sold mixed vegetables during the summer and root crops and sauerkraut during the winter, so you could say going to market is in our blood.
When Doras (Dale’s mother) and Margaret (Linda.s mother) went to market we went along. Margaret will reminisce how she would bring Linda to market as a baby. Linda would be in a buggy and be attended to between customers. Doras will tell you that when Dale came to market it was a challenge to keep him occupied and at the stand. Who knew then that we would come together and a new generation of market gardeners would be born.
We both disliked working in our parents gardens and never thought we would end up as farmers. Dale remembers that as a boy the delight of the Grand River called his name much louder than the tomatoes that needed weeding.
Our “slide back” into farming began when the garden we kept at Dale.s parents did so well that Aaron (our oldest son) piled corn on his wagon and started going door-to-door in our Kitchener neighborhood. Our garden continued to grow to the point where (in 1993) the excess became too much for Aaron.s wagon route, and he had two siblings that wanted to get involved, so we decided to try another form of direct marketing by attending the Waterloo Farmer.s Market. In 1999 we purchased the farmstead and became part-time produce farmers. Our theory was that “If we grow it the way we like it, maybe others will like it too”.
While attending fruit and vegetable conferences we noticed a trend towards local food and CSA programs. In 2007 we experimented with a small number of CSA’s. This proved successful so in 2008 we left the market and started developing our CSA program