Woodfield Farm opens farmgate market

 In Business, News

An out-of-the-way but on-the-beaten-path store offers a wide selection of local products.

Woodfield Farm is the opposite of a convenience store, it’s an inconvenient store, says Matthew McBride, with a smile.

He and his wife and partner Jill Johnson have, since moving from London, Ont., to the countryside in Mulmur, diversified their expanding farming operation, learning as they go. Woodfield Farm is named for the London neighbourhood where they were living when they met.

“We started off with a couple of chickens and thought, it would be nice to have a couple of pigs so we could have our own pork,” said Johnson.

They had the ideal habitat for pigs at their home, said McBride, a treed area where the pigs could root around and lounge in the dappled sunlight. Pigs forage for food, eating just about anything they can find, and ingest quite a bit of dirt, said Johnson. And what they eat has an effect on the flavor of the meat.

It was a friend who suggested they raise sheep and now they have a fairly large flock.

Readers may recognize Woodfield Farm from the Creemore Farmers’ Market but may not be aware that in August they opened a farmgate store.

On a sunny Friday afternoon visit to the farm, the lambs are going out to pasture for the first time. Johnson notices that the ewes are mowing down the fresh grass after a long winter in the barn but the lambs are too excited to eat. They prance around and buck playfully.

Marion Bell is in the kitchen baking lemon loaf and cranberry cookies while Dustin Biel is weeding the garden plot that will produce root vegetables and greens like Swiss chard, carrots, beets, lettuce, okra, radishes, tomatoes for sale in the store and at their market booth in Creemore on Saturday mornings and at the new Mulmur Farmers’ Market at Dufferin County Museum on Sunday afternoons.

With every step there was a natural progression toward retail.

“This has been on my brain for a long time,” said Johnson.

The original 1860s log farmhouse has been converted into a store and kitchen.

Both Johnson and McBride come from a retail background and had no previous farming experience. Always ready for the next adventure in their ever expanding farm operation, they have just finished planting an apple orchard, which will one day yield apples and cider for the store and be open as a you-pick operation.

In addition to their own meat and produce, the farm store sells a number of products made by other local producers, such as maple syrup from Mansfield and Alliston, beef from neighbouring Pendleton Farm, Flour from k2 in Beeton.

Woodfield Farm is located at 936215 Airport Rd.

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