You might recognize us on the Virtual Farmers’ Market as the micro-green vendors from the Leslieville Farmers’ Market and Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market. This winter we made a plan for more than just micro-greens, we purchased seed and spent long hours planning for our first season of field crops and flowers alongside the micro-greens. Little did we know, we would be starting a market garden in a pandemic.
Immediately we hit the drawing board again to figure out how we could make a livelihood if our farmers’ markets shut down. Around the same time, Dave approached us telling us more about the virtual farmers’ market…
Since joining the virtual farmers’ market, we have doubled the amount of micro-greens being received by homes, and simultaneously cut down our driving from 16 hours a month to 4 hours a month. This is 12 hours we got back each month to spend on our fields rather than in a vehicle. Spade and Spoon’s farm is located just 15 minutes away from us in Campbellford, we alternate driving to the food hub 1 hour away from us each week to cut down driving for both of us as vendors.
Additionally, the food hub has been a meeting space for vendors to support other farmers. In the month of May, we were able to coordinate micro-green pick-up with Wheelbarrow Farms at the food hub for their CSA which included items from many of the vendors involved in the virtual market.
Farmers’ Markets have an important role in developing the business skills of their vendors and improving food item quality overtime from the support and feedback of others. Through this process, we have had to adapt to developing professional packaging which we are still working through the challenges of. Reducing packaging has become an important part of our business with being known for cutting micro-green trays fresh at the market to decrease our waste. The Food Hub and other vendors have helped us in this transition by recommending bags, containers, stamps, stickers, etc. I know that once we can make a solid decision on our packaging, this experience is going to have been a huge milestone in our farm.
The consistent flow of support we have been able to receive from the virtual farmers’ market has allowed us to save the money we needed to have our first drilled well and cold storage put into action on the farm. Additionally, we now feel comfortable with staying in the farmhouse on our property which we had thought we would have had to rent out to keep afloat again this year as we did last year.
We are two young farmers in our twenties striving to build a market garden that can feed as many families as possible especially in times like this. The Virtual Farmers’ Market has been like a golden ticket for us in speeding up the growth of our small farm.
Thank you for supporting us throughout this time in a way that brings the food system full circle for us as the next generation of market gardeners. The future of local food is looking bright!
Jenessa & Mike (Little Farm that Could)