Local farmers Rob and Lynn Holden of Holden's Hide-A-Way Farm are located in the Eau Claire area, just outside of Algonquin Park off Highway 17 east of North Bay.
They have been selling naturally raised meat and poultry for several years using methods that mimic Mother Nature. Two years ago they began selling vegetables as well using a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. CSAs are a way of providing the bounty of the farm directly to customers.
“Our goal is to produce food that is health promoting, in a manner that works well with Mother Nature.”
Fresh organically grown vegetables are delivered into North Bay on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Rob and Lynn state that the CSA model solves many issues for both the consumer and the farmer.
“We grow vegetables naturally without the use of chemical pesticides. No genetically modified crops are produced. Our fertilization consists of composted manure and bedding from our livestock operation. Our vegetables are picked fresh and are full of flavor, vitamins and minerals. We also produce a variety of meat products including grass fed beef, lamb, free range pork, pastured poultry and eggs.”
Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits. Fresh vegetables lose up to 50% of their nutrition within a week.
Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking. Many of the vegetable varieties are not available at grocery stores.
Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season. In the fall we will be holding a farm tour and luncheon. In the future we may be offering a pick your own vegetable day.
Find that kids typically favour food from "their" farm – even veggies they've never been known to eat.
Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown.
CSA members have first pick of extra farm products like grass fed beef and lamb, pastured pork, poultry and eggs.
Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin.
Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow.
Commitment from customers means we can concentrate on the farm and effectively plan plantings and harvests.
Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow.
According to Rob and Lynn the major reasoning behind their push for locally and organically grown vegetables comes from the knowledge they received while starting their farm. For example the Ontario CSA directory web site states some interesting facts such as;
- Most imported food is not inspected in Canada
- No processed food is inspected unless a complaint has been received
- The country of origin is not mandated on food labels
- "Product of Canada" doesn't necessarily mean "grown in Canada"
- Less than 10% of imported food is inspected and it is not mandated to meet Health
Canada Guidelines for food production in Canada
Facts like these added to the increase media surrounding food recalls, agriculture effects on the environment and public health issues, all relating back to industrialized food production, are the reasons behind the push for local and sustainable food production. People want to know they are feeding their families safe nutrient dense food.
“Our produce is available in several ways. The vegetable CSA is the best value for your money. It consists of a weekly or bi-weekly delivery of a variety of freshly picked vegetables.”
“All of the products are available when in season at the North Bay Farmer's Market and the Sundridge Farmer's Market. Additionally meat, eggs and vegetables can be purchased here at the farm.”
“All of our products are also available at the farm or deliveries into North Bay can also be arranged.”
Call 705-744-5251 for more information.