A Touch of Nature Vegetables – Winter 2019

I don’t know how Santa was able to drive his sleigh this Christmas without the snow, but I was happy to be able to tidy up my backyard in the mild weather. We even sat around fire one night toasting marshmallows and I collected the ash next day to be used later around the plants. I could rake leaves during the first half of January and spread them on the beds to prevent soil erosion.

All that outdoor fun came to an end, when finally winter arrived and I had to switch gears. Now I have to work with a different set of tools. Shovel, rake, fork were all packed up and laptop, phone, seed catalogs became my constant companions. I started the planning, marketing and other administrative activities. My project management experience has helped me remain focused and organized.

I registered my business – Touch of Nature Vegetables and created my website. The website will be updated regularly to reflect what vegetables are available. A price list will also be provided.

Please visit my website for more information: https://www.touchofnaturevegetables.com/

Seed order is the next priority. In order to avoid the shipping expenses, I am ordering from William Dam who are located in Hamilton. I will order online and pick up the seeds and the accessories from them sometime in February.

Along with the seed order, I am also finalizing the list of gardening supplies – such as stakes, shelves, bags, totes etc.

I attended Guelph Organic Conference and benefited immensely from the workshops. The topics covered were heirloom varieties, optimizing flavour in your market garden, creating the best tasting vegetable varieties and intensive garlic production.

The trade show was equally interesting. I bought a few heirloom seeds and networked with other gardening enthusiasts.

Now, a little bit about my business model. It is based on two pillars:

1) Intensive growing – In fall, I prepared the land to make it more fertile and I will be sowing quality seeds in spring. I am a follower of intensive farming advocates such as Eliot Coleman, Jean-Martin Fortier. By adopting their recommended techniques, I can maximize my yield.

2) Minimize storage of the vegetables to avoid nutrients loss – this means direct sell to the customers, preferably the same day the vegetables are harvested. I am reaching out to nearby wellness clinics, where I can deliver to their clients. I am also considering bulk sell to farm stores, fresh food box programs, food banks, friends and acquaintances.

I was encouraged to note that people do prefer fresh organic vegetables over the store bought ones as they definitely taste better. They are ready to pay the premium due to their freshness and flavour. The tiny carrots that I grew on an experimental basis and dug out in December were so tasty (my daughter’s words). My son’s friend found the cucumbers so juicy. My husband is slowly and steadily incorporating more vegetables in his diet.

Canada’s Food Guide 2019 also encourages people to include more fruit and vegetables in their diet.

- Ritu

Ritu Saxena is an accountant and project team lead living in Oakville. She will be growing and selling vegetables on about 1000 square feet of land with support through an entrepreneurial grant from Halton Region and documenting her journey with Halton Food Council as a regular guest contributor to their blog.