At Poplar Bluff Organics, they believe that by their hard work and honest sweat they are giving more to the world than they are taking from it; an honour that does not come to all.
AOTP: How did you get into farming?
RW: Mom and Dad were both farm kids, but left the farm in the 30’s when times were tough and never wanted to go back. When I was 12, the family went to visit some farm friends. I was in enraptured. Parents had to physically put me in the car to get me home.
I love the science of living. I have a BSc in biology (mostly physiology and biochemistry) and MSc in plant genetics, but that is only a stepping stone to what I have learned outside standing in the sun and wind. I was organic before it was fashionable to do so. (Yes, I’m an old-timer.) I’m relieved to see it accepted now. I was active in the start up organic certifying groups.
AOTP: What does your operation look like now?
RW: Worked for nearly 2 decades going to farmers markets. Now chiefly in food service (I love what chefs love – good food) and wholesale to supermarkets and health food stores. I grow 35 acres of potatoes, Cam grows 15 acres of carrots, beets and parsnips. We work together with complementary skills. (I suck at welding).
AOTP: What is your favourite memory as a farmer?
RW: Every morning standing out on the porch, sucking in a lung full of sweet crisp morning air.
AOTP: What products do you currently sell?
RW: I grow many kinds of potatoes. Different kinds for different cooking applications. Emphasis on flavour! Cam grows the sweetest of the carrots, beets, parsnips, rainbow carrots. Seasonal greens.
AOTP: How can people purchase your products?
RW: Chefs only need to call or email me. Check out the website. Call your local health food store or supermarket and ask if they have our products, or come to the farm on Wednesdays. Our Ugly Veg Wednesday is extremely popular – a screaming deal on vegetables that didn’t make the grade into a box.