Skills Building Farm Tours

 

  • Learn first hand from farmers who have been there, and have years of experience.
  • Meet other new farmers – you will learn from each other.
  • Get lots of great ideas for how to design your farm.
  • Learn what makes a farm successful, and what costly mistakes you should avoid.
  • Informal atmosphere creates plenty of opportunity to ask questions.
  • The focus topic allows you to concentrate on one important aspect of farming.

 

2014 Tours

 

  1. Greenhouse Management, Reroot Organic Farm. Sunday May 4, 1-4pm.
  2. Value Added Products & On-Farm Kitchens, Landman Gardens. Saturday May 24,  1-4pm
  3. Scaling up Irrigation & Washing Systems, The New Farm. Sunday, June 15,  1-4pm
  4. Cut Flowers, La Primavera Farm. Sunday, July 6,  2-5pm*
  5. Small Tools, Wheelbarrow Farm. Saturday, July 26, 1-4pm
  6. Introduction to Beekeeping, Tuckamore Bee Company. Saturday, August 2,  1-4pm
  7. Thinking about running a CSA farm? Fair Fields Farm & Cedar Down Farm, Saturday, August 16,  1-4pm
  8. Growing Hops, Dornoch Hops. Saturday, August 23,  1-4pm
  9. Farmstead Cheese Production, Harmony Tree Farm. Saturday, September 20,  1-4pm
  10.  Fall Season Extension, Drumlin Farm. Saturday, October 25,  1-4pm

Cost per Tour: $40 (includes HST) per person or $68 (includes HST) for two.
Registration: http://store.farmstart.ca/collections/tours

 

Tour Descriptions

 

Topic: Greenhouse Management
Host: Caitlin Hall, Reroot Organic Farm
Description: We feel that Reroot Organic Farm is definitely a must see for new farmers. Throughout the afternoon farmer Caitlin Hall will discuss her experience purchasing and setting up her farm,  with a focus on how she manages the greenhouse. Topics will include; potting trays, soil mixtures, watering, heating, record keeping and more!

Reroot is a small, diversified farm producing local, organic and handcrafted foods. Established in 2007 on borrowed land Caitlin is now farming on her own 70 acre farm in Harriston, Ontario. She grows certified organic produce, raises pastured poultry, eggs, pork, beef, and keeps honeybees. All the farm products are sold through a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) program, from the farm gate, and at the Elora Farmers’ Market.

Date: Sunday May 4, 1pm-4pm.
Where: 5642 11th Line RR#4, Harriston. View Map
Cost per Tour: $40 (includes HST) per person or $68 (includes HST) for two.
Registration: click here

 

Topic: Value Added Products & On-Farm Kitchens
Host: Becky Landman, Landman Gardens
Description: Landman Gardens is a family run business that embraces sustainable farming practices. Becky, the eldest daughter, is in charge of growing vegetables for their CSA program, baking and preserving goods for sale in the on-farm store.  The Landmans also milk 150 goats, raise sheep, pigs, calves, chickens, and turkey. Becky’s father is a master dry stone builder, and the farm has several beautiful stone wall features, as well as a unique Blackhouse, in which they host harvest dinners. This farm is a great example of how to diversify, add value to your farm products, and have offerings year round. Becky will talk about what led them to build an on-farm kitchen, and key things to consider when building your own.

When: May 24, 2014. 1pm-4pm
Where: Con 6-7 322345 RR#2 Grand Valley. View Map
Cost per Tour: $40 (includes HST) per person or $68 (includes HST) for two.
Registration: click here

 

Topic: Scaling up Irrigation & Washing Systems
Host: The New Farm
Description: The New Farm is a certified organic family farm located on the crest of the Niagara escarpment just west of the village of Creemore. The farmers here focus on growing crops that are best suited to their microclimate; cut salad greens, heirloom potatoes, rainbow beets, and Japanese cucumbers. They have invested in equipment and infrastructure that has allowed them to scale-up to meet the volumes required by restaurants, retail stores and wholesale customers. Irrigation, and commercial scale washing systems including salad cleaning drums, and a large root washer, are a few of the things you can expect to see on this tour. They will also talk about the safety certification, and other considerations needed for selling into the public sector.

When: Sunday, June 15, 2014, 1-4pm
Where: 9783 Nottawasaga 6/7 sideroad, RR4 Creemore.  View Map
Cost per Tour: $40 (includes HST) per person or $68 (includes HST) for two.
Registration: click here

 

Topic: Cut Flowers
Host: La Primavera Farm
Description: Cut flowers are a great opportunity if you are a market gardener, looking for another crop to diversify, or attract customers to your market stand.  La Primavera Farms is a 3rd-generation farm that has been growing specialty cut flowers for 17 years. They specialize in sunflowers, but also grow a wide assortment of unique perennials and annuals. In addition to flowers they also raise Highland Cattle, poultry, and a variety of field crops. Producing high quality flowers take some planning and know how. What makes a good cut flower, what varieties should you grow? Colour trends, vase life, marketing local flowers, labour and storage requirements, are all things we will discuss.

When: Sunday, July 6, 2014. 2-5pm*
Where: 221 Middletown Road, Dundas.  View Map
Cost per Tour: $40 (includes HST) per person or $68 (includes HST) for two.
Registration: click here

 

Topic: Small Tools
Host: Tony Neale, Wheelbarrow Farm
Description: Wheelbarrow Farm is located an hour north-east of Toronto on 10 acres of rolling field and forest. They grow mixed organic vegetables and raise heritage breeds of pigs on pasture. These products are sold at local farmers markets, and at their farm store. During this tour farmer Tony Neale will demonstrate how he utilizes small tools, such as a rototiller, flame weeder, soil blocker, and various hand held hoes in his vegetable operation.

When: Saturday, July 26, 2014. 1-4pm.
Where: 535 Durham Road 13, Sunderland.  View Map
Cost per Tour: $40 (includes HST) per person or $68 (includes HST) for two.
Registration: click here

 

Topic: Introduction to Beekeeping
Host: Alison Van Alten, Tuckamore Bee Company
Description: This tour was sold out last year, so we think you deserve another chance to attend! Alison Van Alten spent 15 years working
for the Ontario Beekeeping Association Tech-Transfer program conducting honey bee research. During this time she started her own business, Tuckamore Bee company, and has been doing this full time since 2010. Alison sells a variety of honey and beeswax products at the Guelph Farmers Market, and in the surrounding area. She also specializes in selling bees to beekeepers, using her background as a researcher to select disease resistant stock.

During this tour Alison will introduce you to the basics of beekeeping including what materials you will need to get started, where to locate your hives, what kind of preparations to make, what to expect etc. If this is your first season as a beekeeper, or you are thinking about getting some bee’s in the future then you will find this tour very informative! Weather permitting we will open a hive, if you have a veil we recommend bringing one, as well as a long sleeve loose fitting shirt.

When: Saturday, August 3, 2014. 1:00-4:00pm.
Where: 1006 8th Concession, RR#3 Puslinch (take a right off Hwy 6 if you are heading South, if you hit Carlisle Rd you have gone to far).  View Map
Cost per Tour: $40 (includes HST) per person or $68 (includes HST) for two.
Registration: click here

 

Topic: Thinking about running a CSA farm
Host: Fair Fields Farm & Cedar Down Farm
Description: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a production and marketing model whereby consumers buy shares of a farm’s harvest in advance. If you are considering the CSA model for your farm there are a number of questions and considerations we will explore on this tour; how to get started, what do members want, determining share price and payment options, recruiting and retaining members etc.

This tour features two CSA farms; Cedar Down Farm, is a must see if you starting a market garden, and plan to have a CSA! Farmers Jeff and Leslie have been honing their craft since they began farming together in 2004, and we think they are among the best growers out there. They have an established summer and winter CSA, which sells out every year.

In its third year of operation, Fair Fields Farm is a family run market garden business, owned by Devan Penney and Nicole Boyd. Devan spent years learning organic production methods by volunteering around the world, apprenticing and co-managing several farms around Ontario. He can offer some valuable insight in to what starting a CSA is really like

When: Saturday, August 16, 2014. 1-4pm.
Where: 1:00-2:30pm- Cedar Down Farm, 222145 Concession 14 RR #1 Neustadt.  View Map
2:30-4:00pm- Fair Fields CSA, 221689 Concession 14, Neustadt.  View Map
Cost per Tour: $40 (includes HST) per person or $68 (includes HST) for two.
Registration: click here

 

Topic: Growing Hops
Host: Cherie Swift, Dornoch Hops
Description: Cherie Swift and Richard Elder began in 2012, and have expanded to a 6 acre hop yard.  Plans are to continue using sustainable growing techniques to supply the Ontario Craft Beer Industry with pure Ontario grown hops. Cherie’s enthusiasm about growing hops is contagious, and she is happy to share all she has learned about this crop with you including; propagation tips, how to fertilize, drying hops, when to harvest, and marketing.

When: August 23, 2014. 1pm-4pm
Where: 234929, RR#2, Concession #2, Durham.   View Map
(Highway #6 north thru Durham, turn Left on Welbeck Rd., when you come to the bend – turn right on Concession 2
Fire# 234929.  Phone 369-8765 in case of problems.)
Cost per Tour: $40 (includes HST) per person or $68 (includes HST) for two.
Registration: click here

 

Topic: Farmstead Cheese Making
Host: Harmony Tree Farm
Description: Julie was born and raised in Birkenhead, England and came to Canada in 1987. Her passion for cheese making started after making cheese with her Italian neighbors as a hobby. After practicing in her own kitchen a few years using her own goat, sheep and jersey cow milk she attended Guelph university to learn the science/technical side of cheese making. Her business Carpe Diem Artisan Cheese makes distinctive cheeses in small batches. This tour will give you some insight on how to start a small scale dairy with sheep, as well as see some of the innovative infrastructure Julie and her family have built as they move towards living as sustainably as possible.   

When: Saturday, September 20, 2014, 1-4pm
Where: 650 Goodwood Rd., Uxbridge.   View Map
Cost per Tour: $40 (includes HST) per person or $68 (includes HST) for two.
Registration: click here

 

Topic: Fall Season Extension
Host: Drumlin Farm
Description: In 2013 we visited Drumlin Farm, and were so impressed by all the different growing techniques they are trying, and the new movable greenhouses they had just installed, we thought we have to go back! Drumlin Farm runs a market garden featuring many heirloom varieties of vegetables, and micro greens which they sell through a CSA program, and at local markets. They also raise Chantecler chickens, for their beautiful eggs, and meat.

When: Saturday, October 25, 2014, 1-4pm
Where: Drumlin Farm, 4565 Watson Road South,
 RR1
 Puslinch.   View Map
Cost per Tour: $40 (includes HST) per person or $68 (includes HST) for two.
Registration: click here

 

What to expect?

  • You are encouraged to participate by introducing yourself, asking questions, and sharing your experiences.
  • Come prepared to take lots of pictures, and notes. Tours are not workshops, and do not usually include handouts or other take home materials.
  • Expect that you will be outside for the duration of tour. Wear appropriate clothing, sunscreen, hats, and water etc.
  • Expect to be on your feet, and walking around for most of the tour.
  • No food or drink will be provided. There will be a bathroom, usually in the host’s home.
  • Check and double-check your directions. Rural addresses can be trickier to find than urban ones.
  • Every farm tour, like every farm is unique. Every tour group is at a different level. Ask for clarification if you need it!
  • A family rate is for up to two adults and two children under 13 years of age.
 

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