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Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association

Providing knowledge and leadership to grow the farm fresh experience.

Fresh Facts
Newsletter #280
August 2012
Volume 27, Number 7

Presidents Message The dog days of summer are upon us here in Ontario and for OFFMA members that can mean many different things. For some, August means sweet corn, peaches, tomatoes, watermelons and all of those amazing gifts of late summer. Markets are in full swing and consumers know that August is a perfect time to visit an Ontario farm. It's hot - but we seem to tolerate the heat in exchange for the long bright days and warm nights. Here at Springridge Farm, our attention always turns in August to the months ahead. At this time of year, time seems to speed up - there's so much to do to get ready for Fall. We love it all - the fast pace, the deadlines, the buying, selling, hiring, training, scheduling, and merchandising. It always catches me a little off guard when Christmas things start arriving in the heat of the summer all ready to be priced and organized for later. Once again, summer is flying past. Sometimes it can be a real challenge to stop and enjoy it while it lasts. OFFMA's Annual Potluck is a sure sign of August. It's been six months since our last major gathering at February's OFVC and we're all due for a good visit. This year's hosts are the great folks at Watson Farms in Bowmanville. And on Tuesday, August 14th, we'll tour their farm and market and have a chance to visit with our OFFMA family. This summer picnic is always such a great opportunity to catch up with fellow marketers and meet new friends. I'm always so impressed when people take time from their hectic businesses or summer holidays to come share an OFFMA meal together in the middle of summer. For many of us, this is a can't-miss event. And, if I'm being honest, I always look forward to seeing (and eating!) all of the amazing food that comes to this party. When Ontario's best growers and marketers get together, it's like a local-foodlover's dream buffet. I can hardly wait. See you there!

Inside this issue:

Membership News Expand Your Product Line Milk at its Freshest Open Market CSA Upcoming Events

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OFFMAs Annual Potluck Social

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 3:00pm to 7:30pm
Watson Farms 2287 Regional Highway #2 Bowmanville, ON L1C 4V4 905-623-9109 Go to to register

Jesse Lauzon OFFMA President

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Fresh Facts

New Members Our family continues to grow. If these new members are in your area, take a minute to wish them an OFFMA welcome. Hopefully we will see them at the potluck. Cory VanGroningen VG Meats Simcoe, 519-426-2000 Ian & Lisa Alexander Vanessa Hill Farms Vanessa, 519-446-1191 James & Ruth Eby Eby Manor Waterloo, 519-664-2560

WANTED: Jack-o-lantern pot covers. Patti Stevenson from Barrie Hill Farms is looking for some pot covers that are painted to look like jack-o-lanterns.can you help her out? Pls call 705-728-0571 or contact her at ONTARIO APPLES FOR SALE: John Hordyck from Graceview Orchards in Port Burwell has a fairly good apple and pear crop that he normally sells wholesale to packers. He is looking at other options this year. He estimates he will have approximately 400 bins of different varieties of apples, no Spys. He would prefer that people bring their own bins and pick up apples at the farm. If you are interested in buying some, give John a call at 519-765-1215. Best time to catch him is between 12:15 and 12:45.

Product of the Month Ice Packs / Ice Mats 6" x 6"

Flexible, Reusable Ice Pack / Ice Mat/ Ice Platter Bends when Frozen Patented Design - soft when unfrozen 9, 2" X 2" cubes linked together. Ideal for: Lunch Boxes Cooler Promotions Picnic Baskets Wine Totes Entertaining -Catering -Buffets Lasts 30% Longer than Ice with No Melting Mess! Made with Safe, 100% Purified Water Printed with Get Fresh. Visit a Farm logo Cost is $1.50 each, no minimums Sell them in your market or use them as give aways.

TAKE NOTE: Many of you will be getting geared up for a busy fall season. Take a minute to check your information on the website and make sure it is up-to-date and correct. It will save you lots of time down the road when customers are able to nd your products and your farm with ease.
Sweet Marketing
This truck is turning heads wherever it goes and it could come to your farm. The Acts of Sweetness truck and crew, including the famous cookies, can be booked free of charge for qualifying events, fairs and fundraisers throughout Southern Ontario. Visit for additional information on how to book the Acts of Sweetness truck for your farm event.

Newsletter #280

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Expand Your Product Line an exciting new experience for your farm
In a time when farms are looking to expand their product lines and add to the attractions which bring people to their farms one new option for farms in the GTA is the Geissberger Farmhouse mobile cider mill. Geissberger Farmhouse Cider has been producing sweet cider in the Oshawa Ont. area for over 40 years. Owned and operated by Gord and Garry Geissberger it started with their grandfather who used to take his apples to a mill and have them pressed then bring the cider back home. In 1970, a visiting relative from Switzerland built the press that, with some upgrades to comply with health regulations, has lasted 42 years. "Our present press has been working well, but we knew the time would come when we had to consider modernizing the operation if we want to expand" said Garry. "While researching for new equipment, we discovered a state-fo-the-art mobile unit that will greatly add to the custom pressing part of our business as it allows us to come to the apple orchard and do multiple bins rather than the customer bringing 1 or 2 bins to us to press for them to then take the cider back to their farm." The mobile press is fully housed in a trailer and when it pulls into your yard, 3 sides open up so visitors to the farm experience the full process of seeing the apples enter, get washed, pressed, pasteurized and bagged. Being heat pasteurized, the cider is then put in a bag-in-the-box container quite similar to a wine bag. Once it cools, a vaccuum is formed and the cider has a shelf life of 1 year without refrigeration and 3 months without refrigeration after opening. "It is a great concept for our operation" said Garry. "We have always frozen our cider because we don't add preservatives, now we can get a longer shelf-life without freezing and still be preservative-free!" The only requirements needed for the press to come on a farm site is that there needs to be a potable water source available, a minimum of 6 bins of good sound apples to be pressed and a relatively level area to operate. A worker and a tractor will also be needed to take away the full

Geissberger Farmhouse mobile cider mill.

bins of used apple pommace after pressing. For further information a video of the mobile press is available on their website at or to book a day, call Geissberger Farmhouse Cider at 905-728-8674.

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Fresh Facts

Milk at its fresheststraight from the farm

By Cathy Bartolic Traditionally Ontario Farm Fresh members have been made up of mostly fruit and vegetable farmers. When OFFMA was started in 1973, it seems that the fruit and vegetable farmers were the ones who were looking for another option to wholesaling their products. Many started with a picnic table at the end of their lane way with baskets of cherries, apples or tomatoes. I have heard this story many times from several of our members. In the last 4 years, we have a made a concerted effort to reach out to other types of farmers; honey producers, beef farmers and maple syrup producers are some examples. It has been very rewarding to be able to diversify the membership and create awareness of some of the other products that are available to the consumer straight from the farm. As a marketing association, we know that marketing challenges cross the borders of various produce and products. A direct marketer can gain ideas from a strawberry farmer and apply it to their sheep operation. We are all trying to attract people to Ontario farms and make sure they have an enjoyable, quality experience. It was a great honour to be able to attend the Grand Opening ceremonies for one of our newest members, Sheldon Creek Dairy at the end of June. I was worried that perhaps they would not be prepared for the huge crowds that would respond to their Grand Opening promotions. Where would all the cars be parked, how would they be able to keep up with samples of their products? Upon arrival at the farm I realized my fears were groundless. The den Haans had roped off the field next to the new dairy and turned it into a parking lot with lots of room for all the cars. They also partnered with 4-H in order to have some extras hands around the day of the opening and the website they created outlines clearly, elegantly and simply the objectives of this new operation. Here is a brief backgrounder about the Den Haan Family from their website.. Sheldon Creek Dairy is built on the third generation Haanview farm nestled in the rolling hills of the Sheldon Valley. The farm is currently owned and operated by John and Bonnie den Haan and family. Johns parents, Adrianus and Maartje immigrated to the Alliston area in Simcoe County from Holland following World War II. They arrived with five children and worked hard for three years in order to purchase their own farm. In 1953, Haanview Farms was established in the Sheldon Valley with the purchase of a cow named Maggie. This cow family makes up about one third of the Haanview herd today. In 1955, a sixth child arrived, John, born to be a Canadian farmer. John and Bonnie were married in 1982, formed a farming partnership with a plan to develop the Haanview herd. The den Haan family grew to

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include Scott and Steacy, Andrew and Amanda, Marianne, Emily and granddaughter Grace, all whom are very involved in the agricultural industry. Sheldon Creek Dairy was initiated after several members of the community expressed a desire to purchase whole milk from a local farm. The milk for the dairy comes from the Haanview herd that graze the lush pasture grass in the valley. Sheldon Creek Dairy is one of 3 farms that were part of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) pilot program, Project Farmgate. The project was launched to help farmers begin processing milk on-farm. For the first time since DFO established the Ontario Milk Act in 1965, consumers will be able to buy cows milk directly from the farm. Eby Manor, a new OFFMA member, is another farm offering their own Guernsey milk to consumers. For the den Haans this project has been in gestation for 2 years. Any time you are looking at building a facility where a product for human consumption is produced, many, many, many regulations kick in. A dairy is no exemption. This dairy is a self-contained unit where even the air is monitored and filtered before being circulated through the facility. According to John, they can only use milk produced by their own cows. They are not allowed

to process milk from another farm or herd. The product has been researched and developed to have a feel good quality about it. It is offered in glass quart bottles branded with the unique Sheldon Creek logo of three cows peering over the Sheldon Creek sign. They are not just selling milk, they offer Cream Top Whole Milk, Decadent Chocolate Milk and BONJON Yogurt. According to Bonnie the Cream Top Whole Milk is as close to the cow as milk can get and still be legal. It is pasteurized but not homogenized, so the cream rises to the top of the bottle. Both John and Bonnie felt the time was right to start this kind of operation. With local food in demand and stories of an underground market for farm-fresh milk, it seems the stars have aligned for them and they are off to a great start. Sheldon Creek Dairy is selling their milk retail at the farm and wholesale to other retailers. For more information, go to their website at
Note: The Decadent Chocolate Milk is amazing but I am no expert so I decided to have my niece and nephew try it out. Two thumbs up-hands down. They thought it was great.

Dont let weeds grow around your dreams.

RECOMMENDED READING for entrepreneursreviewed by Tom & Nick Karadza Losing My Virginity, Richard Branson
To make an impact on your community you must think nationally. To make an impact on your country you must think globally. To make an impact on the world you must think intergalatically. We first heard those words from Dr. DeMartini and he was bang on. Richard Branson is flying into space and hes definitely made a global impact. His book is a complete eye-opener. This is a man who takes massive action and doesnt let anything stand in his way. It reads like a fictional novel. If youre looking for inspiration then this is the book for you.
Too many books and not enough book shelves? Once again this year, we will be offering business books up for trade at the OFFMA potluck. Bring a book you no longer need and trade it for a new read. It is the easiest way to get some great reading material. OFFMA Potluck is at Watson Farms on Tuesday, August 14th.

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Fresh Facts

Open Market CSA

Submitted by Carl Fletcher, OMAFRA Strategic Business Planning Lead. For more program information go to

Operating a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is just one of many ventures David Coveyou, a sixth generation farmer at Petoskey Michigan, has adapted to his direct marketing farm. His latest venture is an OPEN MARKET CSA. Best is just to let David explain straight from his website at . At Coveyou Scenic Farm Market we recognize that every member is different. And, that their taste, and the quantities of produce they eat, varies. Therefore we have created an Open Market Membership. OPEN MARKET MEMBER RULES 1. Unlimited visits to the farm (within the specified Full or Summer time-frame) 2. Unlimited quantities of vegetables to be consumed fresh IMPORTANT: Bulk items for canning, freezing or other preserving not included but available at regular market price. 3. All produce must be selected at Coveyou Scenic Farm Market on US131 in Petoskey. Items obtained at area farmers markets will be charged separately. 4. Every person in the household, over the age of three, must be a member. Fee per member varies depending on age (see below). 5. Payments can be made annually, quarterly, monthly, or by special arrangement. 6. Our occasional fruit harvests, honey, maple syrup and other packaged items are not included in the Open Market Membership and will be charged separately.

OPEN MARKET MEMBER FEES Full Season Number of Weeks 22 Length of Membership June 1 - Oct. 30, 2012 1st Adult $450 2nd Adult $400

Summer Season 9 July 1 - Sept. 1, 2012 $280 $255 (-$25) $230 Age x $7 Summer 535 +140 675 $75

Additional Adults (-$50 previous adult member) $350 Children in household (Ages 4-21) Age x $10

EXAMPLE: 2 Adults + 2 Children (ages 9 and 11) Full 1st Adult + 2nd Adult 850

11 year-old (11 x $10) + 9 year-old (9 x $10) +200 Total Family Cost $1050

Est. cost/week for unlimited fresh consumption $48

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An Acre of Attitudes
By Seth Godin

Dry Weather Conditions Info

OMAFRA staff have developed a comprehensive list of information resources for farmers who are concerned about the effect the current dry weather on their operations. Information on OMAFRA website covers dry weather conditions as it relates to: business considerations impact to crops animal welfare For additional resources, please visit our web site at: english/crops/weather/ adverseweather.html#dry Ministry staff in the Agricultural Information Contact Centre are also available to answer any of your questions: 1-877-424-1300

Everyone is given an acre of attitudes at birth. It's yours to tend and garden and weed and live with. You can plant bitterness or good humor. Feel free to fertilize and tend the feelings and approaches that you want to spend time with. Unless you hurt someone, this acre is all yours. Probably worth putting up a decent fence, so that only the attitudes that you choose will have a chance to put down roots, but it's certainly a bad idea to put up a wall, because a walled garden is no good to anyone passing by. You get to decide what comes through your fence gate, right? Watching out for invasive speciesspending sufficient time on weeding and pruning and staking seem to be incredibly powerful tools for accomplishing the life you want. I refuse to accept that an attitude is an accident of birth or an unchangeable constant. That would be truly horrible to contemplate. Good luck with your garden.

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Fresh Facts

Upcoming Events
Aug. 11 Aug. 12-15 Ontario Farm Fresh
Cathy Bartolic, Executive Director 2002 Vandorf Rd. Aurora, ON L4G 7B9 Phone: 905-841-9278 Fax: 905-726-3369 E-mail: 2012-13 OFFMA Board of Directors Jesse Lauzon, President Springridge Farm Brian Hugli, Vice President HugIis Blueberry Ranch Amy Strom, Past President Stroms Farm Cara Epp, Associate Member Cara Epp Marketing Leslie Forsythe, Forsythe Family Farms Jay Howell, Brantview Apples & Cider Hollis English, Murphys Farmstead Colleen Pingle, Pingles Farm Market Geri Rounds, Rounds Ranch Steve Smith, Smiths Apples Carl Fletcher, OMAFRA (Acting Advisor to the Board)

Bud Grafting Fruit Trees Workshop at Siloam Orchards. $50.00, open to all who are interested. Visit for additional info. Toronto Gift Show, Toronto International Centre & Toronto Congress Centre, for additional info visit OFFMAs Potluck Social, Watson Farms, Bowmanville, ON, invitation included with this newsletter Canadas Outdoor Farm Show, Woodstock, ON V Visit for more information OFFMAs Annual Bus Tour, Chicago Region, details coming in the September issue.stay tuned.

Aug. 14 Sept. 11-13 Nov. 4?

Hot Off The Press

A new activity booklet targeted at children ages 6-9. Fourteen pages of various activities keep kids occupied while they learn about agriculture. In a handy 5 x 8 format that can be tucked into knapsacks or purses. The booklet was developed in cooperation with Lynn Smith and Hilary Gillespie. They are the authors and illustrator of Under a Sunflower Sun, a charming childrens poetry book. Make sure you come to the potluck in order to pick up some complimentary copies for your on-farm market. Each page of the activity book will also be on the OFFMA website for members to use when creating their own handouts for school tours or other on-farm activities. The booklet will be sold for $.20 or $60 for a box of 400. Call the OFFMA office to order yours TODAY.

Annual Bus Tour

After almost 4,000 kilometers on a rented Volkswagon Beetle, we made it back home with lots of possible businesses to visit during the November bus tour. Here are some of the sites we are hoping to include. Fair Oaks Dairy the Disney version of a dairy farm. Fair Oaks Dairy is the largest dairy in North America with 32,000 cows. They have built an education centre to help people learn more about the dairy industry and the milk they produce. A little bit over the top but still very well done. It is located in the middle of nowhere-literally. So much so they have a gas station on the corner of the education centre property. Jollay Farms PYO with activities for the children. They also own Gandpas Cider Mill located down the road and featuring 21 flavours of cider. You can saddle up to the cider tasting bar and give your tase buds a tingle. Jollay Farms also purchased an abandoned service centre right by the highway exit to their farm. It has been refurbished with a retro feel and offers coffee, ice cream and a selection of fruits for a quick pick up option. The Zingermans Community of Businesses WOW, located in an industrial plaza, they sure know how to treat their customers and offer an interesting combination of products and services. Although they are not an on-farm market, we can all learn a lot from their businesses. Hope these teasers whet your appetite for the bus tour. After this challenging year, we will all be ready for a break. Save the dates .November 4 to 7 or 8 (final date TBD).