Our unique off-grid farming systems and energy conservation practices win awards.
We work hard, first and foremost, to reduce energy use on the farm in all aspects of what we do. We make use of gravitational irrigation, rainwater collection, cover cropping techniques to minimize tillage, passive solar heating and geothermal energy to store root crops throughout the winter months.
The farm is off-grid, meaning that we have no connection to the Ontario hydro electric grid. Instead we rely on alternative energy sources as well as a back-up gas fuelled generator and some propane. The ‘farm centre’ and yurt yoga studio are run off of a 6KW photovoltaic system that stores energy in a batteries. Hot water is generated in the summer form solar hot water panels mounted on a shed and in the winter for an Esse woodstove which is connected to a both a hot water jacket and in-floor heating in a our finished cement floor.
We work hard, first and foremost, to reduce energy use on the farm in all aspects of what we do. We make use of gravitational irrigation, rainwater collection, cover cropping techniques to minimize tillage, passive solar heating and geothermal energy to store root crops throughout the winter months. In 2014, our unique off-grid farming systems and energy conservation practices won The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation.
Our Root Cellar
Due to the off-grid nature of our farm we were limited by conventional energy resources that most market gardeners use to fuel their compressor condenser refrigeration systems for storing produce at optimal temperatures. Instead we designed and built, along with a team of engineers and Chris Chiasson at Whole Farm Services in Vermont, a state of the art, walk-in root cellar. This versatile space was inspired by the traditional root cellars of generations passed as well as European wine and cheese caves.
Our root cellar is divided into 4 bays that are kept at different temperature and humidity conditions. The total floor space is 600 square feet with 11 foot vaulted ceilings. It is fully vented to the outdoors to prevent any unwanted mold or mildew build up. The geothermal effect of being built into the side of a hill maintains an average temperature of about 6 degrees Celsius. We use an innovative ice block making system to put 100 cubic feet in the furthest to the back bay of the root cellar each year during February to maintain even lower temperatures in the heat of the summer for storing more heat sensitive crops such as leafy greens.
In the late fall and early winter we open our root cellar up for public viewing during our on-farm markets from which we sell a number of organic storage crops such as potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, onions, garlic, squash and more. In total, the space can accommodate approximately 20,000 pounds of vegetables in storage at any given time. In 2014, our root cellar design and innovative ice block-making technique won The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation.