What do a “square root” and a producer of organic vegetables have in common? Answer: numbers.
Robert Demers, a former tax specialist and partner in a large accounting firm, is now a full-time farmer. After moving to West Bolton in 2016 he traded numbers for vegetables, growing more and more of them every year. His Ferme de la Racine Carrée is a member of the innovative West Bolton Collective. When he bought his property in 2016 to be closer to Montreal, he did not suspect his life would change dramatically. Forced to take retirement at age 62, as required in very large firms, he wondered what he would do next. His wife Anne-Marie also likely did not suspect when she gave him Jean-Martin Fortier’s book “The Market Gardener” that this would become his new passion. Since his land included a small clearing, he thought it might be interesting to cultivate that parcel.
That same year he decided to take his summer holidays at an organic farm in Dunham, the Jardins du Pied de Céleri, to see if he enjoyed it. A year later he built his first greenhouse and began to sell vegetables to some friends and restaurants. He also became accustomed to markets and selling produce, going to Varennes every week to sell vegetables from the Jardin du Pied de Céleri. Then last year he began officially to sell his own vegetables, applied for his organic certification and joined the Family Farmers Network. He also built a new heated greenhouse and an adjacent building.
With the pandemic, and especially after Jean-Martin Fortier, owner of Ferme des Quatre-Temps, appeared on Tout le monde en parle to encourage small local farms, Robert Demers saw a huge increase in his customer base. He had one hundred clients here and in Montreal, enabling him to quadruple his clientele and double his sales over the prior year. Ferme de la Racine Carrée has the wind in its sails and a loyal clientele. Enjoy the taste of fresh organic vegetables, grown by Robert with passion and love, on your own plate.
If you want to encourage an organic farm in your region, visit www.fermeracinecarree.ca and register to be the first one when the next subscription period will begin.
Translation: Tam Davis