40075 Longhurst Line, St. Thomas, ON
We eagerly anticipate the phone call from Barry and Sarah in spring, signalling the arrival of the asparagus season. Actually, that's not quite true. Usually, we can't wait for the phone call, so we jump the gun and phone them ahead of time, hoping against irrational hope that somehow the weather in Talbotville has been different than London and asparagus is coming soon. Mazak Farms' asparagus is proof that anticipation heightens the enjoyment.
How did you get your start in farming?
In 2010 we bought the farm from Sarah's parents. Sarah had spent her whole life on this farm, growing up it was a thoroughbred horse farm, and in 1998 it was transitioned into an organic asparagus farm. Barry was involved in the early years of the asparagus (like a good boyfriend trying to impress his girl's father!) and we grew with the business. We always knew we loved the farm, and the life you lead when you live on a farm.
Why is organic important to you?
It is important for so many reasons! All of the obvious ones of course, such as health, positive impact on the environment ect. And those are all very important to us, but on a more personal level in the 150yr history of farming on this property it has only ever been owned by 4 families. We want to continue the tradition of doing the best we can by the land. As Mom (Mary Mazak) has always said.... 'when you know better, you do better'.
What is the most challenging aspect to farming organically?
We are finding that with the ever growing demand for organic produce, there is an increasing number of producers making the organic claim without being certified. As a certified grower this has a direct impact on us as there are significant costs and time that are invested in being certified, and when you have to compete against others who don't incur those cost it impacts your business. That being said, we fully believe in the value of being certified and will continue to do so.
What is your favourite vegetable?
Asparagus of course! We are always excited to have that first meal of asparagus in the early spring. There as been many nights that we have come in from a long day in the fields and had asparagus as a bedtime snack, when it is only here for 6 weeks you have to enjoy it every day of the season!