A&D Bird Seed nourishes family business over 25 years
Dwayne Wyant is quite right when he says A&D Bird Seed is a growing market.
In 25 years the business has steadily grown as a producer and supplier or seed, into an expanding farm market.
The goal, said Dwayne, is to stock the store, located on Airport Road south of Stayner, almost entirely with products made and grown on the farm.
Dwayne started the business with his father Allen (the A in A&D) in 1992. Dwayne was 23 at the time and the birdseed business was to complement the family farm operation.
“We were looking for a way to market our grains, other than taking them to the elevator,” said Dwayne. Back then, the seed was mixed in the drive shed and packaged in the basement of their home and sold out of a storage box. A couple of years later they built a retail location on Highway 26 and continued to grow from there. In 2013, the current property was purchased and the building was renovated in time to open the following year.
The birdseed portion of the business has grown to the point that they no longer grow their own but they source it as locally as possible with millet, wheat and corn coming from nearby, along with about 20 per cent of the sunflower seeds. What can’t be sourced from Ontario is from western Canada and the United States.
The seed is cleaned and mixed on location with 27 different custom mixes available to wholesalers and individuals, using the same recipes they developed 25 years ago. There’s cardinal crunch, tweeters tweats, blue jay gourmet and finchtastic among the top-selling mixes.
“I would say our seed is exceptionally clean,” said Dwayne, adding that’s important to consumers because unclean seed causes weeds to grow under the feeders.
A substantial part of the customer base is made up of bird enthusiasts and people who get enjoyment out of feeding the critters in their yards.
It is common for people to feed the birds in the winter but Dwayne says there is reason to fill the feeders in the warmer months to attract migratory birds.
The Wyants developed a line of wooden birdhouses, do custom work and also carry all the accessories needed to keep the bird buffet replenished.
In recent years, they have gradually expanded the market garden, adding fruits and veggies. They are sold fresh and are made into pickles, jams and take-away soups. It is truly a family operation. Many of the preserves are made using family favourite recipes from Dwayne’s mother Mary and are cooked up by niece Cayleigh Jago. Dwayne’s two sons, Nick and Alex work alongside their father and grandfather.
The Wyants are back to raising cattle and chickens and also source local pork.
Their homemade hamburgers, sausage samples and homegrown corn will be served up at an anniversary celebration on Friday, Sept. 15. The barbecue and tours of the seed processing facility begin at noon. A&D Bird Seed and Farm Market is located at 1617 County Rd. 42.