Doug McBride and I first met at the Barrie Farmers Market almost exactly one year ago on a rainy Saturday morning while I was on a mission to serve fresh, locally grown, organic salad greens at a dinner party. It was late August and I must confess, we are not often at the market this time of year because we are usually inundated with produce, but this week our lettuces were still a little too small to pick. As I scoured the stands, I felt better noticing there were very few farm stands offering greens this time of year. I scanned the stalls again and finally spotted a pile of salad greens so fresh and perky they clearly stood out from the rest and instantly made my mouth water - always a good sign.
I patiently waited my turn at the busy table, mentally rehearsing my tone as I prioritized my list of probing questions to better understand production methods and growing values. I introduced myself to the man standing behind the oldest looking produce scale I have ever seen, and began asking about how they had such nice looking greens. Clearly greenhouses are key to creating the controlled environment for year round greens. He went on tell me about how the McBride farm grow biodynamically (treating the whole farm as an organism) in outdoor greenhouses, with careful seeding, harvesting and reseeding schedules monitored by a multitude of farm hands.
I soon realized I was speaking to the farm owner Doug. It felt so good getting the detailed information I craved about my food, right at the source. Doug went on to tell me about how he and his wife Sharon have been farming organically for 20 years! That would make them the first certified organic farmers in Simcoe County and among the first in Ontario. I was blown away to hear that there was a biodynamic and certified organic farm a few kilometers away from us producing such high quality product with such care, and felt myself getting really excited about the potential synergies for partnership. Not your average sentiment on a Saturday morning at the market.
Not only did those greens taste phenomenal, they lasted much longer than I thought (there is more in that bag than you think) and were pre-washed. I have nothing against soil on veggies, in fact I think we should all eat a little more organic dirt, but battling that fine grit is a high-pressure job prior to the perfect dinner party. It was nice to know the cleaning of the greens had already begun by pros at the farm. To me this demonstrated a unique level of mastery and customer care, perfectly aligned with Farm Table values.
This past year has been an exciting one filled with new friends and brand new experiences. Sharon and I are now in touch regularly, I’ve visited the farm frequently, tasted their beef (also incredible) and washed greens with them. Together Sharon, Doug and I look forward to delivering an exceptional FarmClub experience. We have hopes for even more collaborations in the future as the McBrides look to simplify their marketing and Farm Table hopes to reach more fantastic friends looking for local organic. We sincerely hope you enjoy McBride’s Organic Farm produce coming soon in your boxes and bags. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page once pick-ups begin on Thursday Sept 13th. Until then enjoy the rest of the summer with those you love!
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