September 5, 2013 · 0 Comments
It doesn’t get any fresher than when products are harvested in the field and placed for sale directly at a roadside stand.
Many farms and related businesses are offering their products direct to the public and as a result are getting a regular clientele that return each week for fresh produce right from the farm.
Stella’s produce on Tottenham Road, just south of the town, is enjoying their second season at that location.
They moved their operation from Vaughan after over 20 years at that location. When the city started to build up around them, they decided to move to Tottenham and purchased an existing property that already had some mature fruit trees and enough property to start their own farming operation.
Stella’s offers a wide variety – everything from tomatoes, different types of beans and leafy vegatables, to various fruits like peaches, plums, and apples.
“My in-laws leased the land over there for all those years. They finally decided to sell,” explained Trinity Iacono, who works at the stand along side her mother-in-law, and the stand’s name sake, Stella. “My husband was looking for a new place for quite a while. It took four to six years to find a good location.”
Many of their client have followed them to Tottenham and make the drive from Vaughan to get their annual batch of tomatoes to make pasta sauce.
“We don’t spray, we don’t use pesticides. The only thing that is in my soil is manure, When we moved here it was all virgin soil” Trinity said.
They cut down trees to clear some land and turned grassland into farm land.
Many restaurants also visit Stella’s to buy produce for their menus.
If you jump on the Steam Train in Tottenham and ride to the end of the line in Beeton, you will come to K2 Milling, located on Dayfoot Street in Beeton.
K2 Milling is an artisanal flour mill that produces flour on site with many of the raw ingredients coming from local farms.
The building is old, dating back to the 1870s, and adds a rustic charm suitable for a business that sells its products on site.
The mill is a new business in town having started operations in December of 2012.
Proprietor Mark Hayhoe is a third generation miller.
“I was born into it,” Mark explained. “My dad and my grandfather were flour millers going back to 1935.”
There are photos on the wall of Mark’s father and grandfather as well as a photo of their original mill in Woodbridge. His grandgather was a miller from 1935 to 1987. His father worked until 1994 and Mark became involved in the business in 1991.
The mill produces a variety of different types of flour from different grains. Outside of the main building a new trailer filled with several tons of corn is waiting to be taken in and ground to produce corn flour.
“It’s a village mill. A lot of the people who supply grain here, live around here.” Mark explained. “It’s kind of de-industrialized milling. The style of milling we do is an older technology where you are basically milling it once.”
In addition to selling flour, bread, and other products to the public, they host a farmers market on the property every Saturday.
The market, Mark said, also provides a ‘social time for people who visit to see their neighbours and catch-up on what is going on around town.
Many people choose to shop at these small direct-to-the-public markets because they know the products they have will be fresh and are produced locally.
By Brian Lockhart