Fresh ideas for local harvests
Antony John picks peas on his farm, called "Soiled Reputation," near Stratford.Antony John loves to talk soil, particular about the complex history of the mix of sand, clay, calcium and decomposed organic matter spread across his 32 hectares of land.
Aaron Harris/Toronto Star
“This area has supported thriving ecosystems and obviously large herds of grazers for millions of years,” said John, co-owner and operator of “Soiled Reputation,” a farm in Sebringville, about 10 kilometres northwest of Stratford. The ancient grazers he is referring to are woolly mammoths — a neighbour discovered one’s fossilized forearm in the ground about five years ago.
John, 50, is one of eight farmers providing their produce to a locally sourced new food company called Ontario’s Own.
He also supplies produce to high-end restaurants in the area and believes food crops require the same care afforded wine grapes.
“The characteristics of the soil and the climate impart flavour and quality to the food,” said John, who is also an artist and has a degree in wildlife biology from the University of Guelph.
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Emily Mathieu, Business Reporter for The Toronto Star.