We originally started by founding a small direct sales jewelry company named Oooh! Shiny Things in Brandon, Manitoba. After 2 good years of jewelry business Patrick wanted to start a greenhouse with the intent to just feed our family. After searching for farmland in Manitoba we settled on the decision to build on our lakeside property at Sowden Lake in Northwestern, Ontario about an hour's drive from Ignace where the availability of fresh vegetables is greatly needed. We decided to build the greenhouse big enough to make a living from it. And if anyone knows us, we don't do things without technology and science involved, so hydroponics it is!
Deep in the bush you will find us completely off the grid, equipped with solar energy, our own water source and antennas with booster to grab a sprinkle of internet so we can maintain our nerdy lifestyle and love for computers and technology.
We are raising and homeschooling two wonderful daughters who are fast learning this new lifestyle of being "bush kids". They love to help and they keep asking Daddy every day, "Is the greenhouse ready today? It's taking forever!" (This was October 2018. It took a month to build from the first post in the ground to completion!)
"Do it because they said you couldn't."
Fun story. Back in 2017 we were talking to Farm Credit Canada in Manitoba and we were told that there was no way we could build a greenhouse for under $15,000 like we were projecting. According to their research it would require at least $25,000 for a greenhouse of the size we were wanting to build. Fast-forward a year later and we built the greenhouse out of tree poles from the forest, used lumber and anything else we could find that was laying around. Add on the plastic and the insulation and a tiny $3000 later we had a greenhouse with 2 wood stoves and insulated to withstand the -40 degree weather we had in the winter!
I, Zelda, have been working hard for the past couple of years to establish a weekly market in the nearest town of Ignace. This year I intend to make it into an actual farmer's market with other local growers, bakers, crafters and retailers. You can follow that market here: www.ignacemarket.weebly.com
2019 is our first year for the vegetables and it has already been well received by the local people. Lettuce sells out as soon as it is posted. We are growing in the ground to provide an even larger scale operation to make sure we will have enough vegetables for the whole community!
New Addition to the Business 2020
Since the fall of 2019 we had been working hard to get all the requirements fulfilled by the Northwestern Health Unit to be able to have our kitchen certified and provide baked goods and preservatives for our customers. Growing is a bit slow in the winter, other than sprouts and microgreens, so why not keep ourselves busy while we wait for spring to come? With the addition of a large water filtration system we were able to achieve this and we are happy to be able to start adding these delicious items soon!
And Then Covid Hit...
We quickly changed from holding farmer's markets in Ignace to just doing deliveries in town. It was been working out great for us. The nice thing about it is that, even though it takes longer to take down orders and then organize and prepare them, I know exactly how much to bring each week and we come home with ZERO waste! It's perfect!
What's New Since 2020
We're still doing weekly deliveries to town and once in awhile a market appears and we add that to our list. Not many markets exist in comparison to how it used to be pre-covid. Most of the time I just create my own somewhere and invite a couple of vendors friends to join me because it is more fun with friends! We've held pop-ups on lawns, rented a small room at a hotel and rented the lounge at the hotel to add more vendors for an event. We've been setting up a couple of tables at Lotto One in Dryden every Friday. Even though it's a slow paced set-up it's fun and worth it to go!
It was a sad day to see the greenhouse torn down this year. After repairing the plastic every year, our test-greenhouse has served its purpose; we learned what we needed and are ready to build a permanent one for 2022 or 2023. Patrick bought a sawmill and is now going to make the remainder of our outbuildings that we need out here. A garage, a permanent greenhouse and a Lego shack! Yes, you heard that right. We need an entire building to house our ever-growing Lego set collection lol!
Thank you to everyone who has cheered us on and supported us. We hope you enjoy our products!