Meet the Vendors – Cathy and Clyde Millner of Homeplace Farm

Part of a series about the Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market, written by Valerie Davies.

Cathy and Clyde Millner of Homeplace Farm, Upper Clements

By Valerie Davies

The Millners grow a selection of herbs and vegetables in their greenhouse ready for market each Saturday.  One of the all year round staples is their micro mix, either spicy or mild to add to sandwiches.  The seeds are planted each Wednesday and by Saturday of the next week are ready for sale.  Guests at the Historic Gardens Dinner, May, 28 will enjoy a sprinkling of micro mix with their salad.

Other fresh vegetables they grow include lettuce, spring onions, chard and radish sold in bunches, and beans, peppers and cucumber as well as sweet cherry tomatoes and eggplants in pots for the patio or garden.  Cathy suggests that customers wait till the long weekend to put the tomatoes and eggplant into the garden. Eggplants like the warm part of the garden. She also grows zinnias and snapdragons to attract the bees.

Cathy and Clyde mainly re-seed or use cuttings from their own plants.  Occasionally they order in herbs for cuttings.  All of their plants are organically grown.  They buy bags of compost, vermiculite and peat moss and mix these together by hand.  Also included in the soil mix is chicken and sheep manure from their own animals.  Their greenhouse belonged to Cathy’s parents Joan & Layton Hamilton who had a greenhouse operation , Hillsburn  a few years ago.  (Cathy used to help them when they sold plants at the market in Liverpool and also helped them with transplanting so gaining a great deal of experience in plant propagation.)  The temperature in the greenhouses is usually around 25 degrees, going up to 30 in the summer. They heat the working tables with electric heat that can be adjusted and control the amount of sunshine coming into the greenhouse with blinds. The plants are watered by hand.

Homeplace Farm where Clyde grew up, belonged to his parents Maynard and Ethel. Cathy grew up in Hillsburn. Clyde had been a deep-sea fisherman Lunenburg and then Digby  but he left fishing to take up a job as Superintendent of the Jail at the Court House in Annapolis Royal in 1982. The family lived at the courthouse until 1985 then Clyde became a Correctional Officer at Waterville and then Halifax.  They were the last family to live there. They moved to just outside Kentville where Cathy had a market garden from 1999 to 2006 called The Rock Garden.  This was the first Certified Organic Greenhouse in Nova Scotia open to the public.  Cathy and Clyde only came to live in Upper Clements in 2006 when they began their present greenhouse business and originally named the farm The Homeplace Organic Farm, now shortened to Homeplace Farm.

Cathy is on the executive of the Rare and Unusual Plant Sale coming up soon and will have her organically grown tomato plants for sale.  She also is preparing special bean seeds to be used in the experimental garden at the Historic Gardens and concentrating on producing a white sage bush and a bay tree, all grown organically.  This year for the first time she is growing peanuts in peat pots.

For more information e-mail the Millners at:  ccmillner@hotmail.com

The Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market runs every Saturday morning, 9-12, from mid October through mid May at the Historic Gardens.

It’s Magnolia Time!

Magnolia time in Annapolis Royal.

What a sweet, sweet smell… and the colours are beautiful.

We invite you to stroll our community and enjoy all that it has to offer.

Please download a Self-guided Magnolia Map HERE.

Merrill Magnolia

For more information on the area, please follow these links:

Meet the Vendors – Phil Roberts – Volunteer Coordinator of the Winter Market

Part of a series about the Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market, written by Valerie Davies.

Phil Roberts – Volunteer Coordinator of the Winter Market

by Valerie Davies

In 2008, while campaigning to be elected Mayor of Annapolis Royal for a second term, Phil Roberts promised that he would institute a winter market for the Town.  When this didn’t happen in the first winter after he was elected, he was told by the town’s Marketing Coordinator that reasonable vendor fees wouldn’t raise enough to pay for a market coordinator. So, in his second winter of this mayoral term, Phil decided to serve as volunteer coordinator of the Annapolis Royal Winter Market.

To find a suitable site was the first challenge.  The former Historic Gardens restaurant building, a storage and sometime meeting area adjacent to the Kerr House, housed the Winter Market in the winter of 2009 – 2010. It was roofed but not insulated and unheated. The floor was so cold vendors stood on sheets of matting, cardboard, and foam insulation to try to keep warm.

The following year, at the suggestion of a vendor, Historic Gardens Manager Trish Fry agreed that the Winter Market could well go into the Gardens gift shop during most of the winter. (During the few weeks at either end of the season when the shop was still open, vendors could set up outdoors.) The Winter Market is now in its eighth season under this arrangement.

Each Saturday morning Phil Roberts opens the doors for the vendors at 8 am. Before the market opens an hour later, he sets out the street signs and readies the tables for the incoming vendors and assists in set-up. During the market, he writes out receipts and collects table fees from the vendors (proceeds go to the Historic Gardens in return for venue expenses and marketing ) and counts (with a “clicker”) customers during the three hours of the market. The average number during most of the winter is between 150 and 200 but greatly increases during the shoulder seasons when the Town’s population is greater and vendors have more produce to offer.

Phil also oversees a fundraising table at the Winter Market for the Friends of the Annapolis Pool Society (FAPS).  They welcome small household donations and toys, but not books or larger items.  Nothing is priced on the FAPS stall. Buyers just drop a donation into the jar.  (During the summer Farmers Market Phil, assisted by other volunteers, also mans the FAPS table in front of Lucky Rabbit Pottery on Church Street.)

Apart from the many loyal regulars that shop at the Winter Market every week, new arrivals and visitors find the venue a great spot for becoming part of the community. Some of the newer vendors, such as Lazy Bear Brewing, have brought a whole new range of customers to the market. It’s a great meeting-place and gives us all a heightened awareness of the great range of produce and goods available from our own people. The Winter Market has made all of this possible. Thank you Phil.

The Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market runs every Saturday morning, 9-12, from mid October through mid May at the Historic Gardens.

Meet the Vendors – Erin and Andy Norman of Lazy Bear Brewing, Smith’s Cove

Part of a series about the Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market, written by Valerie Davies.

Erin and Andy Norman of Lazy Bear Brewing, Smith’s Cove

By Valerie Davies

A new addition to the winter market is Lazy Bear Brewing which brings in a different range of customers.  Lazy Bear Brewing is owned by Erin and Andy Norman and they produce at present six different beers: Gut View Amber (English style) 4.9% at $6, Braunbar Honey Brown 5% at $7, Sissiboo Stout 5% at $7, Carolina Saison 5.5% at $7, The Once Over IPA (India Pale Ale) 5.8% and Folly Wild IPA 6.2% at $8.  First time beer buyers purchase a 1 litre bottle plus the beer contents for $12 and return the bottles when they need a refill, paying whatever price for their desired type.  Last year they won an award for their Honey Brown in the Fruit and Field Category at the Atlantic Canada Brewing Awards.  Presently Amber seems the most popular with customers.

Andy is by profession an engineer, Erin has a Masters degree in food chemistry from Dalhousie University specializing in food science and processing.  She learned how to brew and make wine as part of her Masters.  Erin came from NB in 2000, but she and Andy have only been in Smiths Cove for just over a year.  They met while working in Dartmouth at DSM (formerly Ocean Nutrition) where fish oil is processed.  Now they are both employed at Acadian Seaplants in Cornwallis.

To make their beer they use pre-malted barley, which comes in 50 pound bags, some which come from Horton NS, various organic native yeasts in liquid form, hops which come in pellets from Ontario and New Brunswick, local honey for the Honey Brown and spring water from their own well.  They also use Irish moss seaweed that is a clarification agent. They have taken many water tests as different beers require different minerals. The Brewery which is located next door to their home needs a steady temperature although the temperature can be manually changed and depends on the beer style.  On their property hops and also grape vines have been recently planted.

Erin and Andy have been delighted with the response to their beer that is now sold by the keg to pubs in the area, The Fundy and The Shoreline in Digby and the Annapolis Royal Golf Course.  Not only is the beer for sale at the Annapolis Winter market, but on Thursday evenings from 5 – 8 pm patrons can purchase beer by the litre bottle at the Lazy Bear Brewery, 120 West Old Post Road, behind the Basin View Motel in Smiths Cove.

Contact  info@lazybearbrewing.ca  to find out more.

The Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market runs every Saturday morning, 9-12, from mid October through mid May at the Historic Gardens.

Meet the Vendors – Sissiboo Coffee Roasters – Jonathan Welch & Erin Schopfer

Part of a series about the Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market, written by Valerie Davies.

Sissiboo Coffee Roasters – Jonathan Welch & Erin Schopfer

by Valerie Davies

After a fifteen year love affair with tree planting out west, Jonathan Welch found himself drawn back to the province where he grew up ready to try and create his own employment. His obsession with the perfect cup of coffee and the fact that there were no local coffee roasters in Southwest Nova Scotia made it seem like a natural fit to start Sissiboo Coffee Roaster. Jon and his wife Erin purchased the historic Elta Rebekah Lodge in Bear River 2009 and amidst renovations began roasting micro batches (about 5 pounds at a time) of certified fair trade organic Arabica green beans. In the beginning the green beans arrived in 50 pound boxes via Canada Post; today they arrive by pallet, 3600 pounds at a time. The Turkish-made roaster rotates the beans in a propane-heated drum and Jon controls the temperature, time and airflow to create roast profiles for each origin. Once roasted, the beans are bagged into compostable kraft paper bags where they are best brewed within a month.

Coffee roasting is both art and science. Before the beans ever reach Canada there is an immense amount of hard work that goes into their cultivation, harvest and preparation for market from coffee producers around the world. As one of the most heavily traded commodities in the world, coffee producers have long been oppressed by inequality. The fair trade movement of the last few decades has worked hard to improve the quality of life for farmers, their families, communities, and the environment that surrounds them. Paying a fairer price for green beans effects everything from the quality of life for producers and their communities to the taste of the coffee in your cup. Fair trade certification aims to enable farmers to access better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade. Sissiboo Coffee Roaster sources certified fair trade organic beans from six different countries, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ethiopia, Sumatra, Peru and Mexico.

Sissiboo Coffee Roaster started selling coffee in the first year of the Winter Market at the Historic Gardens in 2010.  Jon and Erin give a lot of credit to strong market support for the success of their business. It gave them consistent cash flow while they began to increase the range of their wholesale business. Today, they have two coffee bars, one in Annapolis Royal on St. George Street and one in Bear River in the front of the roaster. They employ between eight and ten people and their beans can be found in stores and cafes throughout the Maritimes.

The Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market runs every Saturday morning, 9-12, from mid October through mid May at the Historic Gardens.

Meet the Vendors – Bruce Family Farm – Danny Bruce and Sandie Troop

Part of a series about the Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market, written by Valerie Davies.

Bruce Family Farm, Centrelea – Danny Bruce and Sandie Troop

By Valerie Davies

The Bruce Family Farm has been going for six generations and is well established in the Annapolis Valley.  Danny and Sandie along with their son and daughter have each contributed to the running of the family farm, selling organic grass fed beef, lamb, eggs from organic chickens, wool, jams, garlic in winter and maple syrup and artichokes on their stall at both the summer and winter markets.

Beef is their main product. They can sell you a variety of cuts or a complete cut up and packaged animal ready for the freezer.  Pure beef breakfast sausages are also available which do not contain wheat as a filler. One specialty is beef fat for the birds in winter. The Bruce family recycles bait bags found on the beach and once used by the fishermen, in which to contain the beef for the birds.

Their sheep are grown mainly for meat, but Danny does sell Briggs and a little yarn. Over the years Sandie has had maritime yarn for sale and makes the jams for the market.  The fresh eggs contain no GMO, sprays or antibiotics.  Danny’s 16 year old nephew has been producing maple syrup for the past 3 years and it is sold on the Bruce Family Farm stall. Apple cider comes from the Inglis View Farm all year round and Danny sells organic Inglis apples in the winter.  He believes in giving neighbours a chance to sell some of their products on his stall.

Danny Bruce enjoys interacting with the consumer, getting to know what the buyer would like to purchase and providing it if possible and available.  This is the third winter he has had his stall inside the Historic Garden’s shop. The first two years he was outside.  Originally just Sandie worked on the stall in the summer market, but Danny wanted to help too.  Now he does the winter market by himself, where he has gained some customers for his beef sales and really enjoys meeting all the customers.

The Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market runs every Saturday morning, 9-12, from mid October through mid May at the Historic Gardens.

Meet the Vendors – Glory Farm – Craig & Julie Medicraft

Part of a series about the Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market, written by Valerie Davies.

Craig and Julie Medicraft of Glory Farm, Tupperville

By Valerie Davies

Inside the Historic Gardens gift shop are more than a dozen vendors selling produce, coffee, ‘antiques’ and of course items from the Historic Gardens  itself.  On one indoor market table are fresh eggs, jars of pickles and rice mixes, all from Glory Farm, 165 Tupperville Road, owned by Craig and Julie Medicraft.  Craig grows the vegetables and Julie dehydrates the  fruits and vegetables and makes the canned preserves.  Two other products they make are fruit leather and rice pudding.  They have mixed farming with chickens, cows and pigs as well as a wide variety of herbs and vegetables.  This year they plan to increase their production as they sold out of fresh vegetables last year.  The Medicrafts have three greenhouses that help extend the growing and picking season from March to December. Their eggs are from their own free range chickens that are fed a GMO free feed. Craig grows all vegetables and fruits using natural methods. The farm is completely no spray.

At the present time the Medicrafts sell five different rice mixes, Mexican, Green Thai, Curry, Cranberry and Mushroom. All are gluten free and do not include salt.  This year they plan to introduce Orange Ginger and Smoky Mushroom.  Most packages of rice mixes serve four people. The rice they use is brown rice. The herbs and dehydrated vegetables are from their garden, except for curry powder and spices.  The rice mixes can be served as a side dish with meats or in the case of vegetarian dishes they provide a whole nourishing meal.

Not only does Julie dehydrate vegetables and make pickles, but she has a catering business catering for weddings, funerals, business meetings and any special occasion.

Julie moved to Nova Scotia, thirty-eight years ago from Ontario and went to school in Lawrencetown, then graduated in hair dressing from the NSCC in Middleton.   Craig’s family has lived in Nova Scotia since the 1800’s.  His ancestor was granted land in Dalhousie in 1812 and worked in lumber.

The Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market runs every Saturday morning, 9-12, from mid October through mid May at the Historic Gardens.