Farming in this area is changing. There is a shift away from the traditional small and medium-sized dairy farms. More and more farmers are developing niche products to sell to local people. Mike Murphy farms near Tweed. He has been a beef farmer all his life. He rears his cattle on grass and finishes them on grain. When an old neighour, who grew potatoes retired Mike bought his equipment and restored it Mike gets his seed potatoes from New Liskard. He sells his potatoes to the supermarket in Tweed, to holidaymakers and to his neighbours. Peter Mewett is a beekeeper. Bees are vitally important as they improve the germination of crop. Bees are also important in apple orchards. Peter has this bee yard beside a crop of organic buckwheat. He also produces clover honey. He sells his honey from his home and in two local grocery stores. Drew Ferguson, is a Loyalist College culinary professor and chef who likes to promote local food. In his spare time he grows garlic. Garlic grows well in this area. It is planted in the fall and starts putting up shoots as soon as the snow goes. Elly Blanchard and her mother grow many varieties of garlic at their farm near Madoc. They are members of an organic co-operative, which sell in farmers markets in Toronto. The garlic in the supermarkets comes from China. Bohr goats are easy to handle and product high quality meat. Jennifer and Brian Davis rear goats and hens on their 15-acre farm. At Easter they sell goats to the Greek community in Toronto. They also sell roasts and sausages locally. People pay a premium for fresh farm eggs. Judy and Larry Kupezc are helping to revive the artisan cheese industry in Ontario. Larry is the current chair of the Ontario Cheese Society. They will send sheep’s’ milk to the new Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co in Prince Edward County which opens this Spring, They also keep Shetland sheep like these for wool. They run an apple orchard organically and sell apples and jellies. Randy and Dianne McPherson used to supply IGA with apples from Grills Orchards when Sobers took over this market disappear They now have farm gate market selling different varieties of local apples beef, honey, maple syrup and vegetable in season like these winter squash. New comers from Toronto are setting up specialty food stores. This one in Warkworth sells fresh meat, local produce and gourmet items. They are new to the job and they are learning with the producers. Another thing that is happening is more and more people are growing their own vegetable for their family and friends and selling the surplus in the local farmers markets.
Top photo: Harvest Hastings board member, Jenny Cook of Knuckle Down Farm, along with Stone Soup coordinator Michele Vindum of Plainfield Heritage