After nine years of dedication, Greg Simms’ career as a professional firefighter began to exact its toll on his health. Greg found a sanctuary in his small garden while facing his health challenges, and that’s where he found peace and healing and discovered his passion for organic farming.
“I love to work with my hands and being outside…and I’m passionate about growing healthy organic food that’s also affordable,” said Simms. “It started when we had our kids. We just didn’t trust where our food was coming from and what was in it.”
The success he had in his home garden planted the seed for a business. The Kitchen Garden Farm was soon born and the market garden team hit the ground running. A Facebook post about their story and commitment to organic farming, a few postcards given out at the farmers market and word of mouth support quickly sold out their Food Box program in their first official season this past July. They currently deliver fresh organic boxes to 45 families in the Orillia and surrounding area with seasonal vegetables from their market garden on two acres of rented land. “We planted and harvested over 18,000 bulbs of garlic this past year, our biggest garlic crop yet,” said Simms proudly.
It’s a winning – and flavourful – formula. From his humble garden last year sprang all kinds of tasty produce. His garlic became an instant favourite and was quickly snatched up by Shine, a downtown eatery that uses Simms’ garlic and tomatoes in many of their popular dishes; Canoe Fresh Foods Market in Washago also carries their salad greens and garlic. And while Simms and his family – his daughters Adalynn, four, and Aria, two years, along with his wife Crystal – have poured their heart and soul into their market garden business, they also received critical financial assistance and mentoring from the Community Development Corporation (CDC).
“The CDC helped me purchase a BCS tractor,” said Simms of the unique two-wheeled, Honda engine-powered tractor that can be fitted with various attachments to make maintaining the land a lot easier. “It’s affordable and light, but efficient; it does a great job.”
The CDC has also been invaluable with support and suggestions, said Simms. “They have been just an amazing resource and I expect as we grow, they will be able to help more and more.”
Speaking of growth, that is exactly what they intend to do with the recent announcement of their new food box partnership with two 20-year veterans of certified organic farming, Sharon and Doug McBride of McBride’s Organic Farm.
On Sept. 15, the partnership launched Farm to Table Organics, their new Certified Organic Farm Fresh Food Box Program. Both farm teams contribute to the bounty in these boxes which include certified organic vegetables, fruits, chicken and eggs as well as McBride’s organic beef. All are delivered to your home weekly for as low as $40. Delivery has expanded within Simcoe County to now include Barrie and area.
This team has made it their mission to grow sustainable, quality, certified organic food for their families, friends, neighbours, local community and businesses.
The growth continues as The Kitchen Garden Farm team will provide certified organic vegetables and fruits soon to be offered yearround at Shine Juice Bar & Café relocating to Mississaga St. this November.
“The Shine team have been great supporters of us and our vision of this business since the beginning,” said Simms. “We are really lucky to have built such amazing farm-to-business relationships selling fresh greens and vegetables to local businesses like Shine, Canoe Fresh Foods, The Grape & Olive, Ripe Juice Bar and The Local Food Mart in Barrie as well as Muskoka Meats near Gravenhurst.
“When I see my daughters picking vegetables out of the garden and being able to identify them, it just makes me so proud,” said Simms. “I want everybody to be able to eat healthy, organic food grown and delivered by your local organic farmers.”
For more information from The Kitchen Garden Farm on their food box delivery program, fresh local garlic, greens and wholesale prices, contact Greg and Crystal via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone 705-238-0141, and follow The Kitchen Garden Farm on Facebook or Instagram for your weekly farm-to-table updates.
Source: Packet & Times