Feature vendor of the week: Markerville Berry and Vegetable Farm
At last week’s market we caught up with Beth Huising from Markerville Berry and Vegetable Farm. Here is a summary of our conversation:
How did you start your business? It started as a hobby. I grew up on a farms so seems to be in the blood and the right thing to do. It also enables me to stay at home with the children, and family is important.
What is your “must try” product? The spinach, it’s a highlight that people always rave about.
What makes you unique? We are unique because we only sell what we have personally grown ourselves on our farm. We do not use pesticides. We use sustainable farming methods. All of our spinach, lettuce, onions etc. are picked the day of the market The coolest thing about the ATB Downtown Market is the proximity to our farm. How close we are enables us to pick everything fresh the day of. This allows us to have the freshest, best green ingredients. We grow everything ourselves and it comes direct freshly picked from the farm. All of our products are being delivered directly to the customers within a matter of hours of being picked. “It doesn’t come from, or go to a warehouse anywhere; it is directly fresh from the farm right to the customer in a matter of hours. Only the best goes to the market.” What is your favorite thing you sell? I like the spinach but I also really love the carrots. When they come they are just so good. Can you find your product anywhere else? No, our product is exclusive to us. The ATB Downtown Market is our main market, we just started one other market last year.
What do people need to be educated about when it comes to farming? The effects of weather on product and availability. For example we are currently in a drought. People don’t realize how weather dependent we are. Everything; wind, rain, hail, bugs, drought, and more directly impact the consumer the following week as far as quantity, quality and pricing. Learning about the effects of weather and other factors that are totally out of our control are important in building consumer awareness and understanding. Weather has a huge impact on what we are able to bring to the market. It is sometimes a deciding factor of whether or not we have anything to bring.
How did you first hear about the market? I don’t remember! That was a long time ago. I have been here since day one of the market and my business. That started about six years ago. I think I heard about it from another producer.
What do you love about being downtown? The familiar faces! It’s a little community. For the last six years now we have seen everybody here every week. To be among these historic buildings all the time and see all of the familiar faces you just start to feel like part of a little family. We have regulars that come every week and have faithfully for years. You look forward to seeing people and you feel at home here. It’s a great place.
What would you like to see change about the market or Downtown? I would like Rosie come to my stall! That would be great! Other than that I wouldn’t change anything, why mess with a good thing? Unless you can you stop the wind tunnel. There are so many great shops, businesses and people around! I like it it’s a great location. You are here a lot. Do you have a favorite market vendor or business on the street? We love our jam guy! Brian from Jelly Barn is great. I like Souto Farms as well. We love our neighbours right next to us, they are awesome. Terry from Artistry in Gold is fantastic. We make faces at him in the window and he always comes out to see us. At the end of the day he often will totally buys out everything that is left. He is very supportive. What advice would you give to people just starting out? Start small, quality is so important over price. Provide and bring your best to town. Only the best goes to the market. You have to smile! Friendliness and quality are so important. You have to smile and say ‘hi’ if you want people to come over and buy from you. How do you define success? Doing something that makes you happy. I am not a farmer by trade. I went to university to learn how to make dentures. I wasn’t happy and had to do something to make me happy. Even though I don’t make as much money as I would doing that I feel good. When people come by and give me thank you cards, which they really do, it makes you feel good inside. This is my full time job now. What type of thank you cards have you received? All kinds. People thank me for always being there, for showing up in the rain, for being consistent. Anything really.
Be sure to stop by Markerville Berry and Vegetable Farm at the next ATB Downtown Market. Find them online at www.markervilleberryandvegetable.com