South Dundas produce farm expanding and relocating

From the ground up – Rijke’s Produce Farm expands: Local produce farm Rijke Produce Farm is expanding with a new farm on County Road 2 just west of Morrisburg, across from the new Dutch Meadows subdivision. Pictured above are Brian and Jenny Rijke, along with their children outside the new produce barn under construction. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

MORRISBURG – A popular produce farm in South Dundas has relocated and is now expanding. Rijke Produce Farm, owned by Brian and Jenny Rijke, has moved to a farm of their own on County Road 2 just outside of Morrisburg.

The Rijkes, who began the farm last year on rented land, sold fresh, locally-grown produce at the Morrisburg Farmer’s Market and via subscription box in 2020. Business in their first year went well so the family expanded by buying about 100 acres of land across the road from the new Dutch Meadows subdivision to expand. The family is now in the process of planning for the 2021 growing season, and constructing a new produce building to sell their products in six days a week.

“We grew up on farms and we always wanted to be farming,” said Brian. “And we knew we wanted to have an on-farm store to serve the community.”

He explained that last year when they started their business they were unable to find a location at the time to buy, so they rented.

“This past winter we were looking around and this location was available,” Brian said. “We’re very happy, very thankful, to be able to be here.”

To start, the business will only be selling products that they grow themselves on the farm.

“We care about our community in providing good quality fresh produce to them,” Jenny explained about the farm’s mission. “We love providing that.”

Seeing a need in the South Dundas community was a big part of the family’s goal to starting, and now expanding the farm.

“There wasn’t really anyone providing the variety in fresh vegetables in South Dundas,” said Brian. “You can get apples, you can get strawberries or raspberries. But where do you go for your carrots and other vegetables outside of a grocery store?”

To that end, the farm is expanding the number of subscription produce boxes it offers per week as well.

“The boxes give a nice security that you know you’ll have a different variety of vegetables each week throughout the season,” said Brian adding that there is an experience to it as well.
“We found that a lot of people we talked to who subscribed last year found how nice it was to open up the box each week to see what was inside.”

“It challenges you to cook with different things or something you may not be familiar with,” said Jenny.

For this first season at the new location, the family farm is planting about 12 acres of vegetable crops, plus some different varieties of seasonal flowers.

The new location for the farm means the family can also extend their growing season. For this year, they hope to be able to go to Halloween, but have plans in the future to start earlier in the season. That may include adding a greenhouse in the future.

“We want to always be growing new things, extending the season, doing new things to provide fresh vegetables and produce to our community for longer,” Jenny explained.

Growing new varieties of vegetables is another goal of the Rijkes. This year the farm is expanding to about 12 different varieties of produce for market.

While the farm is considered a conventional farm, the Rijke family is minimizing the amount of pesticides used in a growing season by being good stewards of the land. This includes crop rotation, planting crops on the land to help nourish the soil, and using compost produced on site from their own harvest.

“We’re making sure the land is taken care of,” Brian said. “If you have good healthy soil, what you’re growing in the soil will be healthier.”

Once construction is finished on the new farm market store on County Road 2, it will be open Monday to Saturday. Additionally the business will still be a vendor at the Morrisburg Farmer’s Market on Fridays.

“We’re looking forward to customers coming to the farm, seeing what we are able to offer, and enjoy what is grown,” Jenny said.

More information about the subscription boxes and products offered by the farm can be found at the company’s website located at rijkesproducefarm.com.

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