Having grown up on a farm in Manitoba, Valerie Wipf knows the tools of the trade, the weeds to pull, and the point of perfection for all her vegetables, what's changed is that she's no longer farming for somebody else--Seeds to Greens, former farm of Dick and Sue Pearson, is now owned by Valerie. Val for short.
Valerie worked for Seeds to Greens in 2016, the year Dick decided would be his last season farming full-time. Concerned about the future of his beloved land, Dick cultivated a beautiful synergy for 2017 between farmer Rod Olson of Leaf and Lyre farms and Val, where they shared land for separate uses, then, this season, Dick sold the business of the Seeds to Greens to Val.
In spite of the daunting task of taking on a pre-existing and successful farm business, Val feels empowered by the ownership. "I love it," she says, speaking about growing food. "There's something about planting a seed and seeing what it will become that fills me with so much hope and excitement. There's a huge feeling of accomplishment in it." She stresses the importance of this, especially in today's world where people don't even realize they can eat the apples in their backyard. She's not the only one excited; her daughter wanted to throw a party to celebrate the ownership transfer.
Currently on the farm, things are frantic--that time of year! Everything is getting planted, and there are too many crops to list them all here. If you're a YYC Growers' customer though, you can expect some tremendous berries as well as carrots. (I even heard a rumor about watermelon). New this season includes a small row of raspberries, just a few canes to start, and 16 rows of strawberries. If all goes well with the strawberries, Calgarians can anticipate a new U-Pick, and likely the closest to town yet.
Farmers always love what they grow, and for Val it is the cucumbers and strawberries that come first. Her son however loves the peas. So much is his love for them that in late January, with snow on the ground, he was asking if they could go to the farm to harvest some for dinner. For Val, her son's question validates all her hard work on the farm: "we really want our kids to grow up and know where their food comes from, it's critical we all instill these values." keep reading below image
For all you hopeful home gardeners out there, Val has the best advice yet: "it's easy, just set your mind to it." She maintains that it's really about having good soil, starting small and planting veggies you love. So what are you waiting for, get growing! Of course, you'll want to make sure you have enough veggies to feed your family, and the best way to do that is supporting local farms like Seeds to Greens with a Summer Harvest Box. Get your Harvest Box