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Waterloo Region was founded on farming

Rugged, hardworking family businesses like 100 Mile Produce, Floralane Produce, Laepelle’s Organic Farm, and the Stevanus Family Farm are part of a proud farming tradition here in Southern Ontario.

One of my favourite things to photograph is weathered old barns before they are gone forever.

Our region was founded on farming, and every summer I look forward to visiting a few farms in Southern Ontario and photographing the landscape.

Spring is here, and many of the outdoor vendors at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market in Woolwich have returned after a long winter -- farming families like Johnson Farms, Tasha's Farm Fresh Produce, and Romagnoli Farms.


I enjoy visiting farms like the Stevanus Family Farm in Bloomingdale, where I have walked amid endless rows of beans, onions, leeks, okra, pak choi, squash, pumpkins and melons.

As a hot sauce aficionado, I remember how excited I was to discover their healthy crop of ghost pepper plants soaking up the sun when I toured their farm a few years back.

In Petersburg, there’s the Laepelle Organic Farm, where farming is not only a job for Fritz and Linda Laepelle’s family, it’s a green way of life.

Established by the Jutzi family in 1848, the farm is still a traditional family farm producing natural, wholesome foods, grass-fed beef, grains, potatoes, eggs, and vegetables. I love how the original two-storey barn and farmhouse are still in use.

One of my favourite farms to visit is Elmira’s Floralane Produce, an 88-acre farm owned by Stuart Horst and his family.


I’ll never forget standing in Floralane Produce’s bright, beautiful greenhouse with my family on a personal guided tour during Doors Open Waterloo Region, admiring hundreds of floor-to-ceiling vines of tomatoes, from cherry vine to grape to Heritage Beefsteak.


Their Elmira’s Own brand of tomatoes are grown from non-GMO seed in their environmentally friendly climate-controlled greenhouse, and are sold at the farm’s market store, along with Elmira Foodland, Sobeys, Martin’s Family Fruit Farm, Stemmler’s Meats and Cheese, and Vincenzo’s.


At the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, my family always stops at 100 Mile Produce, owned by fifth-generation farmer Robert Foreman, who carries a wide variety of seasonal vegetables including sweet corn, pumpkins, green onions, beets, cucumbers, kale, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and garlic.


Everything he sells comes within a 27-kilometre radius of his 24-acre farm in Belgrave, where Foreman deals exclusively with Amish and Mennonite farmers.


Foreman told me how regular customers see the many benefits of buying locally grown food, and understand how purchasing from local food producers can strengthen our wider community.

Rugged, hardworking family businesses like 100 Mile Produce, Floralane Produce, Laepelle’s Organic Farm, and the Stevanus Family Farm are part of a proud farming tradition here in Southern Ontario.


If you have an opportunity to visit their farms or purchase their produce, it will give you a better appreciation for the fertile soil that surrounds us.

Listen: bonnpark.com




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