Our community of passionate young farmers is growing in the Cowichan Valley – great news for all of us who enjoy quality organic produce and want to support young agrarians. Niki Strutynski and husband Nick Neisingh of Tatlo Road Farm in Crofton are in their second year on their new farm and growing a full complement of organic vegetables, herbs, and fruit.
After six years of working on organic vegetable farms throughout BC they decided to venture out on their own and create their own agriculture enterprise. They are now selling produce at local markets and are also a supplier of Saanich Organics, who distributes their produce throughout Victoria.
In their first year they had 1 of 7 acres under cultivation and this summer plan to expand that to 2 acres, as well as adding a flock of laying hens to the mix. In 2013 they started the organic certification process and plan to be certified in June of this year.
The first year was filled with challenges and costly infrastructure projects such as improving drainage, building greenhouses, and the ongoing task of improving the soil. But they’re in it for the long haul and can now enjoy the view onto productive fields.
As many experienced farmers will attest, it’s wise to have another job outside of farming to stay alive. Niki has an MA in Landscape Architecture and does some landscape design, she also is the part-time administrator for Saanich Organics, and Nick is an Intern Architect. Their long term goal is to run a viable farm as well as have a home-based design consultancy, which they’re calling “Food and Shelter Design”.
This summer Tatlo Road Farm will start a weekly farm gate market on Wednesday afternoons from 3 – 6 pm as well as a harvest box program or “CSA” which will run from July through October. They are located at 7871 Tatlo Road West, just south of Crofton. You can also find Niki and Nick at the Duncan Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from 9 am – 2pm. To place an order directly, you can also reach them at 250.246.2323.
Supporting our local farmers is good for all of us.