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Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association Fresh Facts Providing knowledge and leadership to grow the farm

Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association

Fresh Facts

Providing knowledge and leadership to grow the farm fresh experience.


President’s Message

Newsletter #305

June 2015

The roller coaster ride of spring continues, now, not only with the temperatures but with optimism as well. Every sunny day for market gives me a boost, looking forward to a busy day but this has been a quiet spring for us, both on the farm and at the farmers markets attended. Not sure why as some report to be very busy. I can quickly suc- cumb to pessimism although that I know that doesn’t prove productive. Pulling yourself up by the bootstraps can sometimes be difficult when you’ve got the worries of bills to pay and a season to start.

Volume 31, Number 4

Inside this issue:


Membership News


A story caught my attention while watching the CBC National News one night, entitled “Are We Happy? “ It featured psychologist – Shawn Achor- who studies Positive Psy- chology and Happiness. His premise is that we need to be happy before we are suc- cessful. He studied why some people thrived in a stressful environment while others did not. For a very engaging TED talk by Shawn, go to www.ted.com/talks/





Managing a Million Visitors



Updates and Tips


am currently reading his book The Happiness Advantage - The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work. He backs every-



thing up with scientific studies, something I like to see. check it out.

I’m finding it time well spent,

On a sad note Marlene Mckay of Willowtree Farm passed away May 16th. Their farm and market is just a few miles south of ours in Manchester. Jim, my husband, spent time on the OFFMA board with Marlene in the late 90’s and early 2000’s a time when both of our direct farm marketing business’ were growing.


am grateful to have known her. She was a cohort going through the same stages as

we were, being a Mom and raising a family as well as operating and growing her busi- ness along with her husband, Rod. In the last few years that she was well she wel- comed and encouraged my sons as they were getting their feet wet in Farmers Mar- kets, having a booth near theirs at Oshawa Centre. Her wealth of knowledge and will- ingness to share was always appreciated. I admire the legacy that she leaves; both sons, along with their wives, are fully involved in continuing to grow the farm business alongside Rod. We enjoy working with Jordan and Alex and look forward to seeing their plans for their future succeed.

I’m working hard on developing my attitude of gratitude and finding the blessings given me each day. May you find yours.

attitude of gratitude and finding the blessings given me each day. May you find yours. Leslie

Leslie Forsythe OFFMA President

attitude of gratitude and finding the blessings given me each day. May you find yours. Leslie

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Fresh Facts



New Associate Members—welcome to the

John Stanley will be in Ontario working with an OFFMA member. If you are in- terested in having John help your busi- ness become more successful, let the OFFMA office know and we will try and get you on John’s July schedule.

OFFMA Family. Have a look at the great products that are offered by these Associate Members. They have signed up to support our industry, please consid- er support their businesses as well.

Terra Cotta Cookie Co. Kym Taal


Georgetown, ON






Halloween Pumpkin Carriages - Used - Each Carriage seats 9 peo- ple. Pulled by tractor. Wagon under- carriages. Steel and fiberglass car- riage also spray foamed inside for nice finishing touches. Used for school tours and weekend costumers. 2 pumpkin carriages $3,500.00, each third carriage $2,000.00 Local pick up only. Email at greenmoun- tainfarm@cogeco.ca or call 905-

Terra Cotta Cookie Co. makes cookies from scratch with NO additives, preservatives, artificial flavours or colours, and reducing sugar content significantly. In addition to the Original Gourmet Cookies, they have eight varieties of cookies that are 100% compliant with Ontario school nutritional requirements. Terra Cotta Cookie Co. is a peanut and nut free facility. Recently, Terra Cotta Cookie has developed a new line of gluten free cookies and healthier treat options.

Lime Tree Paper Co. Danielle Hartgers

Ilderton, ON





Danielle Hartgers is a small business owner freelanc- ing her own designs and illustrations for internation- al stationery and home decor clients. She loves bright colors, detailed patterns and whimsical characters. While she has some long-standing clients that keep her busy almost full time, she also does freelance work for local clients such as Frootogo Orchards. Over the years, she has done everything from bro- chures to business cards to hand sewn puppets, yes… puppets. Danielle is always looking for ways to expand her creativity.

Hugli’s Blueberry Ranch in Pem- broke has its own line of wholesale gourmet blueberry products that include bbq sauce, jam, syrup, hot

pepper jelly, pure juice, dressings

and salsa.

For inquiries, contact

Judy at info@blueberryranch.ca *This product can also be found in the Members’ Marketplace on the

OFFMA website.


English Bay Batter Peter Hamel Mississauga, ON


Delhaven Orchards Ltd., Blenheim, ON Frozen, pitted sour cherries available for wholesale and retail Call 519-676-4475 or e-mail delhaven@ciaccess.com


905-670-1110 ext. 235


The first cookies were hand scooped and baked for a small Vancouver Café. The same quality ingredients are found in their unchanged base recipes of today. To meet the demand, their gourmet cookies are now made in larger manufacturing facilities with the same attention to superior quality. In Ontario they have 3 facilities in Mississauga. English Bay Batter is availa- ble for all distribution channels: Food Service, In-Store Bakeries, Private Label, C-Stores and Club Stores. They offer their own (English Bay Batter) brand, co- manufacturing, Private Label and blending opportuni- ties.

Farm pictures. We are working on refreshing the OFFMA website. We needs lots of picture that depict farms, fields, bees, maple syrup, lavender and on-farm markets. If you have some you would like to share please send them to the OFF- MA office. Thanks in advance.

Newsletter #305

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Marlene Mckay 1952-2015 An inspiring life Few people in this world have as much passion

Marlene Mckay


An inspiring life

Few people in this world have as much passion and dedication to life as Marlene Mckay did. Born in 1952 in Bethel, Ontario, Marlene’s farm upbringing developed in her an intense desire to work hard and a lifelong passion for strawberries.

Upon meeting the love of her life, Rod Mckay, one serendipitous afternoon, Marlene took her passion for strawberries, her determination to succeed, and her love for nature and created a bustling, beautiful farm business that now supports three families. She loved going to farmers’ markets with her produce and visiting with her many friends and cus- tomers. Marlene had a great thirst for knowledge and was constantly taking courses and participating in workshops. The pure dedication and commitment that came from one woman in one lifetime is an inspiration to all those fortunate enough to know her.

Willowtree Farm is a long time member of Ontario Farm Fresh and Marlene served on the Board of Directors from 1996 to 2005.

One of her greatest wishes in life was to be a grandmother. This dream came true with the birth of Ian Mckay in January 2015. Marlene was able to spend her last days singing to her grandson and playing with “Guitar Monkey”.

Marlene courageously battled cancer for five years until May 16, 2015 when she passed away peacefully in her home. Even to the last day she never lost her sense of humor. When asked if there was anything she wanted, with a sparkle in her eye she quipped, “a cigar”.

Margaret Bennett


Margaret and her husband, Odous evolved the wholesale business into an on-farm market, Bennett’s Apples and Cider, after Hurricane Hazel ripped through their property in 1954. They col- lected the apples that had been blown off the trees and set them out by the bushel to sell in front of the barn. Their apples went so quickly that they decided to revise their business structure and sell directly to the customer.

their business structure and sell directly to the customer. She paved the way for the fourth

She paved the way for the fourth generation of Bennetts to be growing, and selling apples as well as cider on the property.

Margaret passed away peacefully, on April 15, 2015 at the age of 95. She is re-united with her husband Odous. Margaret was the proud Nana of 5 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. She will be missed greatly but never forgotten.

Success She has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; Who has filled her niche and accomplished her task; Who has never lacked ap- preciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it; Who has left the world bet- ter than she found it, Whether an improved pop- py, a perfect poem, or a res- cued soul; Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best she had; Whose life was an inspira- tion; Whose memory a benedic- tion. By Bessie Anderson Stanley

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Fresh Facts


Ontariotravel.net—your free online marketing agent


By Jimmy Luong, OMAFRA Summer Student and Jessica Kelly, Direct Market Lead, OMAFRA


Are you looking to increase online ex- posure for your farm business without expanding your marketing budget? Ontariotravel.net is an official Ontario information provider that allows tour- ism-based businesses to post packag- es, events and things to do. This op- portunity to attract visitors is especial- ly important this season as the official Pan Am and Parapan America Games website is directing its visitors to On- tariotravel.net for travel information. Ontariotravel.net is no stranger to the on-farm markets of Ontario. John- ston’s Cranberry Marsh lists their “Bog to Bottle Discovery” tour as a vacation package and Bonnieheath Estate Lav- ender lists their Lavenderfest as a tourism event.

Visitors can chose to “Play” in differ- ent tourism themes such as kid fun, shopping, food and drink, and tours. Even better, these themes have spe-

vides a live chat service (from 8am- 8pm) that can recommend any upcom-


ing events to potential tourists. In addi- tion, mapping functionality is integrated into the website and your postings will even be listed in their “Discover Ontar- io” mobile app for free! So how can you take advantage of this amazing online service as a business? Follow these simple steps:

1. LOG IN to tourismpartners.com and REGISTER if you don’t have an existing account.

2. Select the type of listing you wish to submit (package, event, things to do) and then enter your infor- mation.

Your listing will be reviewed and trans- lated into French for you. When the translations and approvals are com- plete, your listing will be posted onto Ontariotravel.net


And that’s it! What are you waiting for?


cific areas for farms, farmers’ markets, foodie favourites, and fall

colour and harvest tours – something for every OFF- MA member! Visitors can also narrow down their search by selecting a cer- tain region or other various search criteria such as “Kid Friendly”, “Pets Accepted”, or “19+”. If a listing catches a visitor’s eye, they can find out more about its details and even “Book Now”!

find out more about its details and even “Book Now”! Not only does Ontariotrav- el.net allow

Not only does Ontariotrav- el.net allow you to list your attractions but it also pro-

Members Only Facebook Page Topics…


Right Now

‘No Outside Food Policy”, “Reusable Insulated Bag Suppliers”, “Bake off Bread Prod-



Make sure you stay in the loop, search for Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Associ-

ation (full name) on Facebook and ask to join the group.


Newsletter #305

Checklists and Resources for Safe Agri-tourism Operations

Traffic & Parking Safety Checklist


Review date:

Reviewed by:


Inspection Item







There is a sign located approximately 1 km from the turn off to the agri-tourism opera- tion with the name and distance to the oper- ation on it.



The entrance to the agri-tourism operation is clearly marked and wide enough to accom- modate school buses and other large vehi- cles.



The entrance to the operation and parking areas are sufficiently lit to provide good visi- bility, allowing visitors to identify the name of the operation, traffic patterns and parking spots.



The road/driveway to the operation is smooth, even and free of holes and dips.



The parking areas where visitors are sup- posed to park are clearly marked, with ade- quate space for the number of expected visi- tors.



The parking area is far enough away from children’s attractions and gathering areas to minimize danger to children.



All parking areas are free of brush, long grass, litter and other trip hazards.



Accessible Parking areas are clearly marked.



If the parking area is far from attractions, there are drop off and pick up locations avail- able and clearly marked.



If large numbers of guests are expected, staff wearing bright reflective clothing are directly traffic.


This chart is an example of what can be found on SafeAgritourism.com As agri-tourism continues to grow in popularity, implementing safety strategies to help maximize fun and minimize liability is increasingly important. The website is an invaluable resource for all agri-tourism operations. There are many check- lists that you can modify for your farm as well as signs, policies, forms, and logs that will help you keep your family, staff and customers safe on your farm. Ex- amples include checklists for Corn Mazes, Hayride Safety, Handwashing & Re- strooms, and Inflatable Rides just to name a few. Take 5 minutes and check it out—it could save you hours down the road.

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Fresh Facts


Managing a Million Visitors

by Cathy Bartolic

  Managing a Million Visitors by Cathy Bartolic No, this is not a border crossing, this

No, this is not a border crossing, this the entrance to

Butchart Gardens

During our scout- ing tour/mini- holiday in British Columbia, we took some time to visit one of the top tourist attrac- tions in Victoria on Vancouver Island- Butchart Gardens. The Gardens are a 22 hectare para- dise that allows visitors to roam

various themed gardens, as well as enjoy meals and entertainment. It all started with the Sunken Garden over a hundred years ago. Jennie Butchart at- tempted to create something beautiful from the gigantic exhausted quarry that her husband’s business had mined. She had tonnes of top soil brought in by horse and cart to line the floor of the abandoned quarry and little by little it blossomed into the spectacular sight it is today.

The Butcharts added other gardens as well and they loved to entertain but it was their grandson, Ian Ross who trans- formed their home and gardens into an internationally famous destination. In 2004, it was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. Butchart Gar- dens now gets close to a million visitors a year. The Gardens are welcoming, attractive and filled with incredible colour with a very positive atmosphere.

Upon entering the property you are greeted by the entrance gate where what may seems like significant en- trance fee to some people, is requested. The cost was almost $30 per person. If for some reason, a visitor changes their mind and no longer wants to partake in the gardens it is easy for them to leave

the attraction as they have not gotten out of their cars. There is a separate area dealing with buses; the loading and unloading as well as the parking of bus- es.

Parking lots are significant and well laid out. It was not a tremendously busy day when we visited but there were parking attendants to assist in getting vehicles into the correct parking areas. There were also decorative barriers that helped the Gardens manage their park- ing lots and had visitors using the ones closest to the entrance so that people were not walking unnecessary distances to and from their vehicles.

As with any garden, the space is con- stantly evolving and changing and sometimes is under construction. Path- ways may not be accessible. At Butchart’s they simply used a park bench across the path with a chain fence on either side to keep people out.

One of their biggest challenges is the weather. They are an outdoor attraction and they know they cannot control the weather, so they bought hundreds of umbrellas instead. These umbrella hold-

ers are located throughout the gardens so that people can pick up or drop off their umbrellas depending on what the weather is doing at the time. Each um- brella is made of clear plastic so that your sight lines are by no way impeded dur- ing a shower and you can still enjoy your visit.

dur- ing a shower and you can still enjoy your visit. Umbrellas are available in several

Umbrellas are available in several location to pick up or drop off de- pending on the weather.

Newsletter #305

Page 7

The staff in every area of the attraction were pleasant, helpful and wanted to make sure you had a wonderful time. We stopped to ask one of the garden- ers a question and he was happy to oblige. It is sometimes difficult to instill in staff that it is important to engage with customers but not spend all their time chatting with them as they still have other tasks that need to be done. Butchart’s has been able to find that balance with their staff.

They have also taken to heart ways of not including the word ‘no’ in their signs. Many establishments’ signs will read “Do Not Enter”, “No Pets”, or “No Parking Here” creating a very negative atmosphere. I was happy to see that their little sign on the grass said “Please Stay on the Path” when it could have very easily said “Do not walk on the grass”. A lot of thought had gone into how best to make people feel wel- come.

All these little details added up to a very enjoyable visit. Maybe garden- ers are a more docile bunch and easier to manage or maybe after 100 years, Butchart Gardens has learned a few things about crowd management that can be adapted to farm businesses as well. I think the latter.

be adapted to farm businesses as well. I think the latter. Barriers can be simple and

Barriers can be simple and effective and made from items you already have around your business.

well. I think the latter. Barriers can be simple and effective and made from items you

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Fresh Facts


Inserts in this issue Thatcher Farms


Dana Thatcher has put together some wholesale pricing on their meat products. If you are considering carrying meat products or looking for a new or additional supplier, check out the enclosed insert and give Dana a call. Also, have a look at the Members Market- place on the OFFMA website for other great Ontario products produced by OFFMA mem- bers.

Chockablock Media


Allyson Reid presented some useful information at the Fruit & Vegetable Convention this past February on how to get your message across using videos. OFFMA and Chockablock have put together some options specifically for OFFMA members to help YOU get some videos created for your farm. It is a busy time but it is also the perfect time to capture images that portray your farm to your customers. Have a look at the insert and see if there is a program that will work for you.

Seven Tips to get your new employees off to a great start from Donald Cooper

Do you have a structured ‘On-boarding Plan’ (orientation and learning agenda) for each new employee you hire? What do they need to know about the company and their job, who do they need to meet? How do you want them to ‘feel’? Here’s a checklist of seven tips you should consider…


Give them your ‘Company History’ and general ‘Welcome to Our Team’ info package when

you hire them so they can read it before they start with you. The ‘Welcome to our Team”

package will contain info on dress code (including why), Company Values (including why), Standards of Behavior (including why) and any other rules, info or tips that folks will need to fit right in.


The Thursday before they start a brief memo should go out to all employees with whom

they’ll be working or interacting. It should say who the new person is, what they’ll be doing, why it’s important what their background is and a little about them as people.

A similar memo should go out to announce the promotion of an existing employee to a new position …or to announce a special achievement by a Team member, inside or outside the business.


Create a specific detailed learning agenda for them. What do they need to learn, from

whom or where will they learn that…by when. Who do they need to meet? When will that hap-



4. Have their work place ready for them.


5. Take them on a tour of the operation so they see the full scope of the business and how

each Department relates to the ‘whole’.



Meet with them first thing and at the end of the day for the 1st week or 2 to discuss learn-

ings, answer questions and introduce next steps in their ‘on-boarding’ plan. Some smart com-

panies assign a veteran ‘mentor’ to each new employee to show them the ropes and be a ‘cultural advisor’.


Ensure that they feel welcome and comfortable…challenged, but not overwhelmed.

welcome and comfortable…challenged, but not overwhelmed. NEW Product—Feather Flags A limited number of feather

NEW Product—Feather Flags

A limited number of feather flags are available on a first come, first served basis. We have strawberry, sweet corn, apple, blueberry, pumpkin and watermelon. They are 13’ tall and move with the wind and are definitely eye catching. Cost is $150 + HST and shipping each for the flag and $85 + HST and shipping for the pole set. Contact OFFMA office if you are interested.

the pole set. Contact OFFM A office if you are interested. Ontario Farm Fresh Cathy Bartolic,

Ontario Farm Fresh

Cathy Bartolic, Executive Director 2002 Vandorf Rd. Aurora, ON L4G 7B9 Phone: 905-841-9278 E-mail: info@ontariofarmfresh.com www.ontariofarmfresh.com

2015-16 OFFMA Board of Directors Leslie Forsythe, President Forsythe Family Farms Nicole Judge, Vice President Spirit Tree Estate Cidery Brian Hugli, Past President Hugli’s Blueberry Ranch Kristin Ego MacPhail, Ego Nurseries Ltd. Hollis English, Murphy’s Farm Market & Bakery Cara Epp, Associate Member Edana Integrated Marketing Steve Martin, Martin’s Family Fruit Farm Dana Thatcher, Thatcher Farms Karen Whitty, Whitty Farms Jessica Kelly, OMAFRA Advisor