Little girl: YOU CAN’T be a farmer. You have to marry one!

theloveoffood ann slater

From a farmer to you – a series of real stories about real people.

Deb Cripps the love of food 5

theloveoffood ann slaterStrolling through ‘Organic Ann’s’ vegetable garden is like stepping into a gigantic salad of greens. The aroma of lettuce, radishes and onions permeates the air. Filtered sunlight dances through the field of oversized spinach, baby bok choy, and other jewel-like emerald vegetables.

Gardeners from novice to pro, and a loyal following of discriminating buyers seek out Ann’s knowledge and her produce. The attraction is obvious. She has the giggle of a young girl, the wisdom of a master gardener, and is passionate about growing vegetables – organically.

Ann Slater was raised on a farm in southern Ontario by parents who instilled a sense of environmentalism.

“I took over the family garden when I was only 15, and even then my produce was organic, just not certified. I don’t know how to grow with chemicals – I never learned. My dad stopped using pesticides on the farm in the mid 1970’s. When I realized there was a demand for great-tasting fresh vegetables, I set up a card table on a main street in town, and sold whatever I had grown that week.”

As a young girl in the early 90’s, Ann’s aspiration to farm was not met with enthusiasm. Public perception of the average farmer at that time just didn’t include an energetic, forward-thinking young female.

“My biggest challenge wasn’t being the ‘rebel organic market gardener’; it was gaining acceptance as a female in farming,” she says. “People would tell me, ‘You can’t be a farmer. You have to marry a farmer.’”  [Read more...]

White Lightning and the Blues

carl hiebert organic popcorn

From a farmer to you – a series of real stories about real people.

carl hiebert organic popcornIn Ormstown Quebec, Steve and Loraine Lalonde are pioneers in the field of organic popcorn. Their popcorn White Lightning has three necessary ingredients that constitute great popcorn – fantastic taste, a high popability rate, and it melts in your mouth.

Steve knew they had a great product when they bought commercial popcorn and did their own taste test. “White Lightning’s creamy, nutty-texture sets it apart. And our Tullochgorum Blues is a unique, blue-kernelled corn that really catches people’s eyes. It’s blue when you put it in the pot, then it pops up white.”

The Lalonde’s motivation to take on the organic challenge was [Read more...]

From a farmer to you – a series of real stories about real people

deb cripps the love of food3

Go Blue or go home: Blue Antioxidants.

Can you imagine strolling through luscious wild blueberry bushes with millions of honeybees buzzing all around you? the love of food bees

 

Visit Russ and Donna Hawkins at their blueberry farm this spring in Pennfield, New Brunswick and you’ll discover fields that are ‘just a buzzin!’  [Read more...]

A Young Dairy Farmer’s Perspective

deb cripps the love of food

From a farmer to you – a series of real stories about real people.

carl hiebert theloveoffood dairy88

Alex Anstice is 28 years old with a degree in Agriculture from Guelph University. He enjoys biking, playing the guitar and drums, and is a full-time dairy farmer in partnership with his parents, Dorothy and Jim Anstice on a 275 acre farm in Tehkummah, Ontario

If you ask Alex why he farms, he smiles, and will tell you that his love of farming started when he was a little boy who often fell asleep on the back of his dad’s tractor. “By nine years-old I was driving the tractor myself and by 12, I was helping with the milking.

[Read more...]

The First Lady of Farming

Carl Hiebert - The love of food - 2 (2)

This farming story takes place in the small community of Bruce Mines, Ontario with Ron and Cathy Bonnett.

Carl Hiebert - The love of food - 2 (2)The Bonnetts operate an 800-acre farm with 200 head of Angus. Ron is the president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), and his business travel (200 days each year) regularly takes him away from the farm. That puts the first lady in charge…

[Read more...]

FOREST TO FIELDS

Philip and Rhonda Thornley

It’s a story that could perhaps only be told in Newfoundland: a young couple’s dream of carving out a lifestyle from rock and bog. In 1979, city dwellers Philip and Rhonda Thornley knew they wanted to live in harmony with the land. They wanted to integrate family and work, vision and passion.

Philip and Rhonda Thornley

It was a daunting task. They took on the challenge of a cold climate, land with poor drainage and soil that required irrigation and frost protection. They built ponds and roads, picked rocks, bought every piece of equipment and built their own home and storage sheds.

These first generation farmers were clear about living intentionally, and as Phillip says,… [Read more...]