“Wow” just doesn’t seem like a BIG enough word to cover it.

These two ….

 

… are celebrating 65 years of marriage today.

So, when you add it up – 65 years for each – they’ve got 130 years of experience as partners in marriage…in the farming business… and in life.

As Robert and I reflect back over our mere 20 years of marriage, and the journey it has been so far… to think of 65 seems …. well… just absolutely remarkable, to be honest.

As most couples who have been married any length of time at all would tell you, Mom & Dad will admit that it hasn’t all been easy…or fun.  They have weathered their fair share (at least) of storms.

But they’ve done it together, while holding tight to each other, and to their unshakable faith.

In the process, they have provided an inspiring example to their family and all who know them.  An example of what it looks like to live out those marriage vows taken so many years ago, with love and grace.

So, as much as it will make them feel uncomfortable (…neither of them being lovers of the spotlight…), today seems like a very appropriate day to say,

“Thank you Mom & Dad.

… for your perseverance.

… for your love – for each other, and for those around you.

… for your example, your prayers, and your encouragement.”

If it hadn’t been for all of that, the story of the Miller Family  – and of Miller’s Bay Farm – would have unfolded very differently over these past decades.

Although they have since passed the pen to us, we are beyond grateful for the chapters that Donald and Wilma Miller helped to write!

Happy Anniversary ❤

 

 

 

 

 

WOW…and now…

WOW!! Wasn’t that a party?!?

 

2019 has been a strawberry season for the books!  Thank you for making it so great!

Whether at the Roadside Stand at the Farm, in the Pick-Your-Own Patch, the Perth Farmers’ Market, or our Perth Wagon at Penny’s Place… records were broken in every spot, and that’s all because of you and your support.  You are the BEST!

But…guess what?

The excitement is FAR from over, because NOW we move right into vegetable time!

We’re not sure what your thoughts on vegetables are, but around here, we can’t find ANYTHING boring about them…especially when they are freshly picked for you, straight from our fields…still loaded with nutrients and flavour and just begging to be taken home for your family’s enjoyment!

Did you know that you can check on ‘What’s available’ anytime, from anywhere?

 

Check out the handy, newly posted  “On the Stand” page on our website.  You may not have seen that particular page yet, since we have JUST made it active.  We’ll keep it updated at least once each week.  That way, you’ll always have a good idea of what’s coming out of the fields and ready for your dinner plate!

Now…there is one thing we did need to chat about, and we’d love to have your feedback.

If you are one of our Perth area friends, this applies to you even more.

For the past few years, once strawberries have tapered off, we have closed our Perth Wagon at Penny’s Place.

This year, we would like to keep it open, but it doesn’t seem quite feasible to stay there 6 days per week right now.

Can we meet in the middle?

What if we were to commit to being at the Perth Wagon with a full lineup of our vegetables each Tuesday and Thursday for the rest of the summer?

(Remember you can also catch us at the Perth Farmers’ Market every Saturday… so that means we would have the Perth area ‘covered’ for 3 days each week. )

If you are (or could be) a patron of our Perth location, we really would love to hear your thoughts on this one.  Please drop us an email at millersfarmfresh@gmail.com , comment below, or pick up the phone and give us a call at 613-283-0205.

 

 

 

Hey folks…can we talk?

Any day now, the sides of the streets will be dotted with a familiar – and welcome – sign of summer … Roadside fruit and vegetable stands.

  • They are most often operated by the farmers themselves, or members of their summer staff team – but not always.
  • They usually sell produce which has been grown at their home farm – but not always.
  • The farms represented are often within just a few kilometers of the town they’ve sprung up in – but not always.

Yes, we happen to operate one of these Roadside fruit and vegetable stands.  It’s located in the parking lot at Penny’s Place Restaurant  on Hwy 7, East of Perth.

 We’re heading into our 9th year there.

 

The point of this ‘chat’ we’re having today though, is NOT to convince you to come and buy from us. Surprised? Don’t be. If you would give us just one more minute of your time, we’ll help you to understand what we’re driving at here.

More often every year, we are hearing from folks who honestly think that they have been buying OUR products…but they haven’t.  We know this because they’ll tell us something like…

“We stopped in at your stand on the corner and bought strawberries….or corn….or….fill in the blank.”

Oh yes, there IS a stand on the corner…but it’s not ours.

And that’s perfectly ok!

Let’s be clear.

The other thing we are NOT doing here is suggesting that you avoid supporting our farming colleagues at the other stands in town.  We know them personally.  Great folks! They do a terrific job of growing fresh, quality produce for your table.

We’re all just making a living, and there’s room for everyone in the world of local food.

As shoppers, each one of us is absolutely free to choose where we spend our food dollars.  That may be at the farm gate, the farmers’ market, the local grocer, or even the big box stores.

As consumers ourselves though, we do find it disheartening to learn that the money we had intended to end up in one pocket actually went in a different direction.

Perhaps we could liken it to the times in a grocery store when we’ve purposely chosen fruit from under the sign that said ‘Ontario-grown’.

 

Upon closer examination though, the sticker on that fruit revealed that the country of origin was actually Chile.  Not that there’s anything wrong with Chile.  Farmers there have to make a living too…but we didn’t intend for our money to go there.

 

You work hard to earn your paycheque, and groceries make up a significant portion of your household budget. It just seemed that this was worth mentioning, having heard from a number of people who weren’t quite sure “who’s who” under the tent…. or in our case, beside the wagon!

 

The shopper is in the driver’s seat.   What can a person do to find clarity?

By Ontario law, baskets over a certain size must be labelled with the packer’s name and where the product was grown.

Read labels.

 

When in doubt, ask… Ask where it was grown …and don’t settle for the stat answer of ‘locally’.  (‘Local’ can mean ANYWHERE in Ontario)

Ask about our farms.

Ask about our families…

…And our teams…

 

Ask us anything!

We’ll look forward to continuing the dialogue when we see you in person.

And – regardless of where you choose to fill up your grocery bags, we say ‘thank you’ for reading, and for your interest in local food.  We’re all in this together!

 

A Monday Morning Musing

Disclaimer:  This post is just me…putting down my rambling thoughts ‘on paper’ because…well, sometimes it just seems like a good idea to share.  I’m not fussing with the fonts, or the layout.  Just being real, on a Monday morning.

 

Sometimes Monday mornings are hard.

5:20 AM:  Today when the alarm rang, I think that both Robert and I tried to sqeeze our eyes shut hard enough to chase this particular Monday away…far, far away.  It didn’t work.  And our hearts were so anxious, we couldn’t have fallen back asleep if we’d tried.

We’ve been waiting for this – a sunny day, a sunny forecast, for more than 36 hours in a stretch.

But, now that it’s here, things feel completely overwhelming.  All of those things that ‘should’ have been done long ago ‘in a normal year’ still scream at us from the lengthy ‘to – do’ list.

We knew what we had to do…we just weren’t all that crazy about doing it…today.
Surely you feel this way too sometimes?

So, we rolled on out of bed and began the morning routine…one slightly heavy foot ahead of the other.
(I’ve read recently that what you do in the first hour after waking up sets the tone for the whole day, and over the past month, we both have found it to ring true.)

Robert made his way to his favourite chair, journal and Bible in hand, for his morning chat with God.
I laced up the runners headed out for my own morning quiet time.  Often that’s where I too find myself in conversation with The One who guides my steps and urges me along when I’m starting to drag.  (Like most dads, He is happy to meet with us anywhere, anytime!  Thank goodness!!)

6:30 AM:  Back home…still a little apprehensive…but knowing (…although not yet fully FEELING…) that ‘we CAN do this.’

The kids are starting to stir…they’ve got their own ‘stuff’ going on too.  High school exams, after school commitments, end of year excitement.   While they are in-tune enough to sense our anxious thoughts, we are careful not to burden them with our ‘grown up’ concerns and worries.

Hugs and ‘I love you’s’ as they head out the door… a welcome deposit to the ’emotional bank accounts’, hopefully going both ways.

Shower ….. breakfast …. COFFEE …. 🙂

9:00 AM:  Things are moving now…the team arrives to clock in and get started…
After a flurry of ‘Good Mornings’ (and today – introductions as well, as we have 2 new guys starting their first shift.  No doubt they’re feeling a little apprehenive too!!) those first jobs get knocked off the list, or delegated with the confidence that they WILL be by day’s end.

Breathe.

We’re doing this.

We really are.

And we STILL love it.  How can that be?

Honestly, as I type this with tears in my eyes, (okay,  they may have overflowed just a little….actually…since we’re being totally honest….), I’m not sure of the reason.

I think maybe it’s this….

 

As I walked back into the house to tackle my own ‘to-do’ list (which incidentally did NOT include a blog post today!!) it hit me like a 2 x 4 to the side of the head…

This is our passion…  farming is what we have BOTH wanted to spend our lives doing since we were kids.

As often as we ask ourselves, “Why on earth do we keep on going???”, we are reminded that it is what we love…even when it’s hard….especially when it’s hard… and it’s a privelege to have a calling and an occupation that we are fully invested in.

It’s now shortly after 10 AM, and I’m finding myself feeling excited about this week (…and I don’t think it’s JUST the coffee kicking in)!

Next task…a walk through the strawberry patch.  Must try to figure out some sort of an answer to the ‘question of the week’   ….. “When will those strawberries be ready???”

Stay tuned.

It’s going to be a great day!

No,  It already IS a great day!!

 

 

It appeared nearly 3 weeks ago…and you’ve been so very patient to wait and find out…  

 

“What’s up with the new shed?”

 

 

Well, first of all…

  • It’s NOT ours, and no…
  • We’re NOT replacing our trusty old Roadside Shed just yet.

 

 

It’s always kind of cool the way things work out…

The wheels (of thought…) had begun turning waaaaay back in the winter.  We were wondering about how we could do a little more ‘collaborating’ this season with  our fellow small business owners in the area…farm…or otherwise.

 

Enter North Country Sheds.

David gave us a call wondering if we’d have a spot to showcase one of their cabins here at the farm.

We knew right then that this idea was ‘a go’!

STEP #1 – The “Lakeside Bunkie”  arrives.  It’s there for you to see…inside and out.  Feel free to poke around, go inside…have a look!

 

(But guess what?   There’s more to this than ‘just’ a demo cabin…  read on!)

It seemed too bad to just leave that lovely building sitting there only to look pretty!

That brings us to:

STEP #2 – “Friends at the Farm”

As you know, we don’t grow everything here.

(Yikes!  Could you imagine us trying to do that?!??! )

We thought,

“Why not invite some of our farming friends to come, and meet our amazing Farm Family (that’s YOU!)?”

Invitations were extended, our kind friends chose to ‘humour us’ … and…. it’s all coming together!

We’re so excited!!!!!!!!!!

The plan is that we will host a different ‘guest’ EACH THURSDAY AFTERNOON throughout July and August. They will bring their wonderful products right here, to the farm for you.

It will be a great opportunity to meet the producers, try a sample, make connections, and of course – purchase their products!

We’re still finalizing the list, but at this point we can tell you we have confirmed the following guests:

 

 

So, keep your eyes open for more news about this.

We will be adding a few more names to the list in the coming weeks to make sure that July and August are filled up.  We’ll also be posting a schedule, so that you’ll know who’s coming for which week!

There are so many really wonderful, local products available … not too far from home.

The trick sometimes, is knowing where to find them.

Hopefully this will help!

Thanks for reading,

Keep tabs on us:

  (We love to hear from you!  This was some feedback from a returning Bountiful Basket Member that we wanted to share.  We suspect that it may answer some of the questions a lot of folks have about the program. )

… the only one that had comparable selection to yours was the first one I joined…and it was quite a bit more expensive. I appreciate that a lot of CSAs include unusual crops as a fun introduction to new foods, but I found those would oftentimes be wasted if we didn’t like them or didn’t know how to use them in our regular cooking routine, plus I felt they took space in the box from more practical veggies.

I love that yours has all the tried and true standards and I can count on the whole basket being used by week’s end – and at a price that has other CSAs beat.

I also really like that you offer large and small basket options; for my small family I would always buy the “half-share” option at other CSAs, which was a full-share box but picked up every other week instead of every week, which meant less-frequent fresh produce and a challenge to get through everything before it went bad.

The small basket is the perfect size for our family. “

S.L.

  There you have it!  In summary…

  • Varied selection
  • Not too many ‘unusual’ (aka puzzling!) items
  • Reasonable price
  • Size options to fit differing needs
  • Fresh supply EVERY week (regardless of basket size)
    …and of course….
  • ALL local, home-grown, right here at Miller’s Bay Farm!

 

Have we got you thinking about it?

 

 

Sign up is open until May 31st!

 

 

A Perfect Match???

Remember those crazy quizzes in the Teen Magazines of long ago???  (…when we actually read PAPER magazines?)

 

…not gonna lie… I’ve certainly completed a few of them in my day!
I’m happy to report, however, that I have never based any major life decisions on the results of said quizzes!!

 

This very day, we have a similar quiz for YOU.

 

No. No. NO!  It’s NOT about dating. 
(We love you…but you’re on your own where that’s concerned!!  )

This one’s about our Bountiful Basket Program, you know…our weekly basket of Farm Fresh Goodies?  (sometimes also known as a ‘CSA’ program…)

 

You see, we fully understand that this type of thing is not for everyone. We have members who would NEVER dream of skipping a year…

…and then we have folks who have given it a try once or twice and found that it just wasn’t a good fit for their family…and that’s OK!

So we thought…maybe it would be fun to put it in the format of a little quiz.

Just to be clear – it’s NOT statisically correct…by ANY stretch…but it may help you to decipher whether or not you consider joining the program this year.

(And hopefully it will be fun – regardless of your result!)

Want to give it a try?

 

 

Enjoy!

By the way…if while taking the quiz, you get to wondering… about ANYTHING (well maybe not dating…or other ‘matters of the heart’…but ALMOST anything …)

 

 

…please drop us an email, or give us a call.  We’d be more than happy to chat and help you figure it out!

 

 

Do you have people in your life who make working together so much fun that it doesn’t feel like work at all?

Don’t you just LOVE that???

Roger and Lianne Sands (Arranel Studios) are some of ‘those people’ for us!

From our VERY first family portrait…

…to our latest project…our updated farm website…

..these two…

 

 

 

…are ‘Our People’!

(Ok, well to be honest, our relationship started  a LITTLE bit before that family photo up there…but I’m certainly not going to be the one to share some of the very vintage portraits that they may or may not have taken of ‘yours truly’ in her much younger days…. at least … not today…)

  Whether they are helping us to

  • Celebrate our Life with portrait photography
  • Celebrate our Business through commercial photography or advancing our family business via…
  • Video creation
  • Graphic Design
  • or – as we’ve already mentioned – Web design

…their 40+ years of experience and know-how shines through it all.

The very best part though, is that their fun-loving, quirky personalities, matched with an unrivaled sense of humour, means that our meetings generally include more laughs than a visit to a comedy club!!

Get to know them better by having a look at their latest “Boost-Letter” right here.

…or have a browse through the extensive (but super-easy to navigate!) portrait gallery on the Arranel Studios website(There’s a pretty good chance you’ll find some folks you know there…)

Once you’ve seen some more of their work, you will DEFINITELY want to enter our spring ‘Find The Flowers’ contest for a chance at the awesome prize that Roger and Lianne have been so generous to contribute!

Click the Flower to go to the contest…

 

Happy Spring!!

 

Contest Time!!!

We’ve got the April Showers!! Let’s not wait until May for the FLOWERS….

What in the world is going on???

As you may know, we’ve completely re-vamped our website.

We love it.  And we hope you will too.

Roger and Lianne, over at Arranel Studios have done a tremendous job (as always) of making what we’ve envisioned in our minds appear (almost miraculously) on the screen!!

In order to give folks a little extra incentive to have a look around, we decided to run a Spring Contest.

There happen to be a couple of pretty amazing prizes (EACH valued at over $200!!)

Have we peaked your curiosity? We hope so!!

What do you need to do?

Just head on over to our Contest Page for instructions and more details. (That green button below will take you there.)

Hint:  We’re not going to ask you to do a bunch of ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ and other Social Media shenanigans.  This contest is a little bit different…

Now let’s go and have some fun!!

If you’ve been following us on instagram this past winter, you’ve seen some of our posts about ‘what farmers do in the winter’. Glamourous things, like…

  • repairing broken appliances
  • tackling the mountain of clothes to be ironed
  • filling up the woodshed for next winter …and so on…

We would be misleading you though, if we let you believe that nothing we did over the winter was fun!! We had a fabulous time with the whole family over March break, escaping the snow.  Man, did that warm southern sunshine feel amazing!!!

At the risk of boring you with ALL of the details… (those can be the topic for a roadside chat later on this summer…), we DID want to share just ONE of the trips’ most memorable moments with you.

As we meandered around downtown Belize City with our brand new friend, Dan.  (How that came about is also a story for later…) imagine our surprise and delight when we saw this! CORN!!! “Guess you can take the farmer out of the cornfield….but….”

Well… we HAD to try some. The gentleman in the red ballcap had just made his way down the street with a fresh pot of ‘Street Corn’. To dress it, we could choose between ‘Regular’ which was sea salt and fresh lime or ‘Creative’.  (The name still kills me!!)  Creative Corn is the ‘interesting’ flavour combination of ketchup, mayo, and Cheez Whiz.

Not feeling quite THAT adventurous, we went with the ‘Regular’! It tasted, as you might expect…. a little –  ahem, ‘more mature’ could we say – than what we’re used to here in Ontario, but we didn’t care.  It was an experience none of us will ever forget!

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