Ep 112. Lex & Beth on Turning a Homestead into a Thriving Farm Business
Is your personal farming hobby outgrowing your need for crops? Ever thought of monetizing the surplus?
Our guests this week sure have, and they took it a couple steps further as they grew a full thriving farm! This week’s Thriving Farmer Podcast proudly features Lex and Beth Antoinc of Providence Hill Farm. Providence Hill Farm is a family run regenerative vegetable farm nestled in the heart of King Township between Nobleton and Schomberg, Ontario. Their unique regenerative methods focus on improving soil health by increasing organic matter using cultivation methods that do not disturb the soil structure. The aim is to increase biodiversity, water retention, crop health and, most importantly, nutrient density. Although they are not a certified organic farm, their methods far exceed the requirement of organic certification. Join us as we discuss how they organize and run their unique operation!
In This Episode:
Why Lex and Beth decided to start selling the crops of their farming side project 1:37
How Providence Hill approach farmer’s markets 3:51
How Providence Hill has widened their production 6:52
About the unique methods Beth and Lex utilize when creating salad mixes 9:56
How Lex and Beth maintain a “relaxed” schedule while keeping productive 12:49
How they go about increasing the average value of transactions for existing customers 25:11
What Beth and Lex would change about their farming operation given the opportunity to turn back time 35:25
Why Providence Hill keeps their help (primarily) in the family 40:14
The biggest mistakes Beth and Lex see newer farmers making 50:59
How they distribute compost 59:46
Their favorite farming tool 1.00:52
Where can you find out more about Lex, Beth, and Providence Hill Farm 1.08:29
About the Guest
Beth and Lex moved to their 12.5 acre property about an hour north of Toronto 16 years ago with the goal of raising their 3 kids in a rural setting and growing some food for themselves, as well as dabbling in some cut flower production and on-farm dog boarding to supplement their income while still allowing them to both work from home while raising the children.
Over time Lex became extremely interested in some of the newer small scale farming techniques and the family began building their market farm. Now in their 5th year of farming, all 3 of the kids are fully involved in the business as well. Providence Hill Farm grows salad greens, market vegetables, microgreens, edible flowers and cut flowers using all-natural, regenerative farming techniques, focusing on low/no till methods, heavy compost amendments and the use of 13 caterpillar tunnels for season extension. They are also in the process of adding a mushroom grow room to their operation, and a new on-site farm store for retail sales which will include an attached licensed kitchen/ workshop space. They are expanding their sales to include a market-style point system CSA this season for the first time, in addition to their farmers market sales. They are also continually expanding their line of value-added items as well as bringing in items such as meat, fish, grains etc from other farms in their area.
They firmly believe that the key to a successful family run farm is to continue to evolve and adapt the strategies for running the operation to match the current life stages, needs and personalities of the people who are involved in the day to day running of the farm.
Resources and mentions
Website – https://providencehillfarm.ca/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/providencehillfarm.ca/
And if you want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Facebook Group to connect with us and other farmers looking to grow their business!
We also have six free eguides to help you be more effective on your farm (Winter Growing, Pastured Poultry, Washing Shed Efficiency, Profitable Farmers Toolkit, what to look for in a farm property, etc), which you can download here.