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Farmer's Market Feature: The New Growers

We chatted with The New Growers, Olivia and Andrew, to get a glimpse into the autumn farming season. Check out what they had to say below, and find them at the Antigonish Farmer's Market on Saturdays from 8:30-1pm.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you got into farming? How long have you been in the business?

1. Olivia has been farming for 6 years. She started volunteering on farms in Kingston, ON, where she was going to school at the time. Olivia was inspired to learn the process behind growing and selling food after taking a Global Food Security course as an elective during her undergrad. She continued to volunteer on farms throughout her travels in France, Germany, Costa Rica, and Panama after graduating. She worked full-time on a farm on Vancouver Island where she experienced a full-season of farming for the first time. When she moved back home to Nova Scotia the opportunity to join the New Growers Program came at the right time to start farming independently alongside her partner, Andrew.

Andrew started volunteering on farms three years ago when he spent his days off work volunteering on the farm Olivia was working for on Vancouver Island. Ever since then he has been interested in farm life, homesteading, and learning how to be self-sufficient. Andrew has been looking for opportunities to learn more and gain more experience with different aspects of farming. The New Growers Program has been a great experience to dive-in and learn about growing produce and how to run a small business.

2. What are your favourite things about the Antigonish Farmer’s Market? Can you tell us a little bit about the Martha’s New Growers program?

We love the Antigonish Farmers’ Market because of the community that supports it. Our fellow vendors and market manager have been incredibly supportive of us new-comers and we couldn’t have felt more welcomed. The customers that support the market are some of the kindest people we have ever met. We truly feel lucky to be part of this market!

The Marthas New Growers Program is a program organized by the Sisters of St. Martha in Antigonish. The program is meant to give young people a chance at learning how to grow chemical/spray-free vegetables and how to operate a small business without the huge startup costs. The program provides the land, basic equipment, and tools as well as mentorship from two experienced vegetable growers.

3. What are your favourite vegetables to grow? Which vegetables are in season right now?

We love growing all vegetables. It’s really hard to choose! This year we grew watermelons which really took off with the hot summer we had. They were fantastic and incredibly sweet. That was really rewarding as melons aren’t a common crop in Nova Scotia!

Right now the fall crops are in season. This includes squash, pumpkin, brussel sprouts, leeks, carrots and cool-loving crops like broccoli, kale, spinach, radishes, turnips, and beets. A lot of

vegetable growers have protected crops in hoop houses so it is still common to find tomatoes and peppers at this time of year, too.

4. Can you suggest your favourite recipe using these vegetables?

We believe that good local food doesn’t need much to be appreciated! Our favourite meal these days is toasted homemade bread with local free-range eggs, and roasted squash, carrots, beets, and hakurei turnips dressed with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper! Simply delicious.