Elly and Grant Blanchard farm at Railway Creek Farms on the south edge of the Canadian Shield, north of Madoc in the Hamlet of Cooper. The farm is nestled between the old railway track line and the creek named Railway Creek. Elly grows asparagus and garlic and Grant has a beef herd of Limousin cattle. Since 1993, Elly has grown many types of garlic, vegetables, asparagus, horse radishand and berries. She focuses mainly on Belleville Farmer's Market on Saturdays, but on occasioncan be found in Toronto and Carp and around Hastings County.
Elly spent some of her youth in the Eastern Townships, Quebec with her grandmother. 'Granny' gardened organically on her mountain home in Sutton. Elly inherited her love and basic knowledge of gardening from her before she went on to Guelph University to study horticulture. Since 2008, Elly has focused her attention on heritage asparagus and a wide selection of garlic. She grows over 15 strains of garlic. These range from the hot and strong Russain Red and Hungarian to the very mild and sweet Italian and Antolina. The most popular is Railway Creek Farm’s famous Mennonite garlic, an all purpose, large garlic. Some varieties are suitable for raw eating, salad dressings and simple sauces. Others are better in soups, stews, roasts and vegetarian dishes. Bulk orders of garlic are placed in the late summer by calling to reserve
Grant works off the farm full time as an electrician. However, his interest in raising cattle were inspired while living in rural Hasting County near his grandparents who had a mixed farm. He spent time visiting sale barns around Ontario, where he acquired the knowledge of cattle raising and the skills for selecting good breeding stock. Grant purchased his first Limousin cows in 2003. The breeding stock has now grown to over 20 cows. Railway Creek Farm Limousin cattle are fed a diet of fresh grass in the summer, hay, second cut alfalfa and sorghum and sometimes grain is supplemented for finishing. Along with commercial herd, there is the breeding stock of fullblood and purebred Limousin bulls and heifers to sell. The cattle are raised using organic methods and the land is used in a sustainable way. You can order sides or quarters cut and wrapped to your specification directly from Grant and Elly.
Currently the Blanchards are focussing mainly on garlic, asparagus and beef. Some fresh produce will be available at the market on Saturdays along with farm fresh free-range organically fed chicken eggs. Elly continues to market the garlic at Garlic festivals, retail distribution, agricultural fairs, health shows and local markets, and garlic can be shipped out as well.