Wed. July 29th, 2020
We rose early and joined Don on their patio to enjoy our morning drinks with related chat.
Don and Claire headed off to their farm chores and we followed to check out the activity. Things were buzzing already as cars were coming and going to pick up orders or head to the “pick your own” fields for berries, peas, or vegetables.
Things had changed from our last visit – not only the strawberry masks worn by the farm staff. One of the most interesting was the significant increase in demand for food boxes and special deliveries. Kevin reported that their initial attempts had poor uptake until COVID-19 arrived.
The increased activity made their distribution network attractive–not only for their products–but for other producers including a chocolatier. Jody reported that the increase in phone calls and emails made it necessary to drastically redesign their approach. You can see the results via https://belluzfarms.on.ca.
The number of cars and people arriving even during the short time we were there confirmed the impact and made it clear why there were more staff around. We particularly liked the T-shirts that Jody designed to highlight both farming and respect during COVID. Claire and Fran modeled the results.
I was impressed with the flexibility and capacity that Jody and Kevin showed to the changing conditions. I wonder if this is a common outcome of farming–where adaptation to weather, markets, and family must be a part of life.
The trip from Thunder Bay to Kenora is a gallery of wonders–courtesy of the Canadian Shield. It includes the cottages and docks of English River–with vacationers seduced by the lakes, rivers, and snowmobile trails through the spruce and birches; bogs and wildlife; the hidden delights of waterfalls and streams like we discovered at Raleigh Falls, the pulp mills of Dryden, and the lakes and islands that announce the approach to Kenora and Lake of the Woods.
We saluted the Belluz’s, their farm, and the fresh potatoes and vegetables after setting up in a Kenora RV park that evening.