Rural Roots – The Food Producers and Suppliers of North Bruce

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The Easy Farm’s Pierce Pimiskern. at the Lion’s Head Farmer’s Market last summer. The small-scale, organic farm, is located on a Hellyer homestead, north of Ferndale.
By Joanne Rodgers, Bruce Peninsula Press

There has been growing demand for locally produced foods using sustainable farming practices, and now a heightened interest in food security; North Bruce is home to farmers and suppliers aiming to offer high quality food using sustainable agricultural methods.

Read about them from the comfort of your armchair!

TLMH Riverside Farms

Tyler Hayes raises grassfed Angus beef on 1500 acres. A large scale operation with 1000 head of cattle and 50 cow/calf pairs, he is fully capable of meeting his customer needs over the next few months.

In summer, the animals graze in the pastures 100% of the time. In winter, they are fed a blend of nutrient rich, green native grasses and immature grains. The cattle are raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics. As a sixth generation farmer, Tyler has “a long heritage of farming and takes pride in the stewardship of the land and the animals that live here”. 

Increasingly, customers are buying bulk orders to even-out volatility in their food budgets. Tyler sells bulk quantities of steaks, bacon, burgers, pepperettes, etc. There is a minimum $300 order.

Many of his customers prefer to place their orders via phone, but he also takes on-line orders. Orders are pick-up only. Located at 3712 ON-6, Lion’s Head, ON N0H 1W0. Phone: (226) 668-4348. Website tlmhriversidefarms.com/order-2/ or email: [email protected]

The Easy Farm

Pierce Pimiskern owns and operates a small-scale, organic farm, which is located on a Hellyer homestead, north of Ferndale. He says “we are growing on a little over an acre of garden, plus a greenhouse, to maximize the length of our season.”

He continues “while, it’s still early, spring greens like arugula, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, pea shoots and micro greens are starting to grow in the greenhouse. Spring roots like radishes, turnips and carrots won’t be too far behind.”

Pierce aims to “grow food naturally with minimal impact.” He plants a wide range of produce, which cushions him from vagaries in climate and length of the growing season from year to year, and ensures he has a constant variety of offerings for his customers.

Pierce offers customers a “market share” where they pay $250 upfront and receive a farm credit worth $280. Similar to “running a tab”, throughout the season customers have the flexibility to pick and choose fresh produce as they require.

Last year, Pierce sold 30 shares, this year his goal is 50 shares; as at the end of March, he is halfway to meeting his goal. He is accepting new sign ups through May.

For the next few months, he will offer a mix of home delivery and pick up options for those with shares. Spring greens will be available beginning in April!

Visit theeasyfarm.com for further information. 

Cape Chin Bison Farm

Todd and Charlene Dowd and daughter Lillie live on a 225 acre farm in Cape Chin raising 40 Bison cow/calf pairs.

Bison at the Cape Chin Farm. Todd, Charlene and daughter Lillie raise
40 Bison cow/calf pairs on the 225 acre farm.

Todd grew up with a farming background in beef/dairy in the Milverton area and got interested in the idea of raising bison while stationed with the Canadian Forces in Denver, Colorado. He started the Cape Chin Bison Farm 27 years ago.

The farm sells frozen steaks, burgers, ground meat and sausages. Local restaurants such as the Shoreline Cafe at Summer House Park and Tobermory Brewing Company are customers as well local residents who buy on a regular basis.

They currently have limited stock available and are seeing increased interest due to COVID-19. Customers are encouraged to call ahead since social distancing measures are in place.

They hope to open a retail store on the farm on Saturday mornings, after May long weekend.

Located at 94 East Road. Home phone: 519-592-5010. Email: [email protected]

Garden In Thyme

Danny and Molly Bridge have operated a market garden business for the past 14 years. They started with a small roadside vegetable stand and scaled up gradually. About 5 years ago, they built a greenhouse and new retail store with a certified kitchen on their farm property.

Garden in Thyme has operated a market garden for the past 14 years.
Danny and Molly currently grow fruits and vegetables on 4 acres of this fourth
generation farm owned by the Bridge family.

They currently grow fruits and vegetables on 4 acres of this fourth generation farm owned by the Bridge family.

All their locally grown produce is pesticide free. Lettuce, peas, beans, tomatoes and herbs are growing in the greenhouse, in preparation for outdoor planting.

The retail store stocks their locally produced foods, fruits and vegetables from the Mennonites; maple syrup, honey, preserves, baked goods, soaps and birdhouses from local vendors. 

The retail store opens on May 1, and Molly says there will be a large supply of her preserves, jams, pickles and pies, butter tarts and bread.

Call or email about placing orders and pick-ups. Phone: (226) 668-8573. Email: [email protected] Located at 3088 Bruce County Road 9, Lions Head, Ontario N0H 1W0.

Hannah’s Organics

Mark Rauket operates Hannah’s Organics, a 1.5 acre market vegetable garden, and has been selling produce for about 12 years.

Mark Rauket operates Hannah’s Organics, a 1.5 acre market vegetable garden,
and has been selling produce for about 12 years.

Mark offers farm gate sales and has a list of regular customers. He also supplies produce to his wife’s restaurant TruFood Cafe.

Currently, in the greenhouse there are lettuce, micro-greens, kale and by late May, spinach. He also grows Shiitake mushrooms in limited quantities. On his fields he uses green manure, crop rotation practices, leaving areas fallow and growing cover greens. He does not spray his crops or use any industrial fertilizers.

The produce will be ready for late May and interested persons can contact him at 519-592-4132.

Eat Local Grey Bruce

Eat Local Grey Bruce has about 50 regional producers, producing locally grown food such as dairy, meat, vegetables, bread, fruits, flours, preserved goods and prepared meals. 

Eat Local operates as a “just-in-time” facility and fills customized orders (with minimum order of $25.00) on a weekly basis. 

Recently, there has been rapid increase in demand. Eat Local said “We had no forewarning and no time to prepare. As we watched the numbers escalate our glee turned to shock and shock turned to fear. How were we going to fulfill all these orders? The sheer volume wasn’t the only obstacle. New challenges were surfacing everyday. Our reusable bags were now a hazard, our pickup points that we rely so heavily on were rapidly closing, our van broke down (again) and our cooler wasn’t acting so cool.”

They were able to deliver every single order!

Greg Stewart, President of Eat Local Grey Bruce says “current sales are about 200% of normal, a 100% increase over an average week.”

He continues “We’re working overtime to grow our capacity and hope to adapt to the demand for food delivery in this crisis over the coming weeks.”

Greg says “We currently have 28 members in Lion’s Head, three new members since the beginning of the pandemic. We have 9 people from the area on our waiting list. There are a dozen or more people in the Tobermory area that would like to join once we have the capacity to extend our delivery route. We encourage interested parties to let us know to help us plan and develop routes to incorporate their area.”

For more information, visit their website eatlocalgreybruce.ca