Jonathan Davies and Xiaobing Shen have found their own unique niche in Frontenac farming with their Long Road Eco Farm on Road 38 south of Harrowsmith. Their primary focus is steamed buns, dumplings and fermented veggies.
As such, they grow their own ingredients including a wide variety of oriental vegetables.
“We don’t advertise as selling to consumers from the farm,” Davies said. “We will but we generally sell at markets.”
Davies grew up in Lethbridge, AB, and worked in a Chinese restaurant during school. That gave him an appreciation for oriental cuisine.
“My grandparents were farmers but my parents weren’t,” he said. “I was living in Toronto and about five years ago got the idea that people not from farms could still be farmers.”
So he got a “bit of an education” through Ontario’s Farm Start program.
“We were looking for a healthier lifestyle with the possibility that we could have a business,” he said. “It was a brief education and then we threw ourselves into it.
“There was quite the learning curve.”
They got started in 2013 and then 2014 was their first full season.
“That first year, we did open farm every day . . . we sold veggies, port and prepared food.
“That fall, we started at Memorial (farmers market in Kingston) because it’s close for us.”
And the prepared foods seemed to be the thing that took off for them.
“We use spelt flour from Cumpson’s Sonset Farm,” he said. “We make dumplings and dim sum with our own vegetables and pork.”
He was pleased to take part in the Open Farms In Frontenac event.
“It’s been a good day so far,” he said. “Well attended despite the (cool) weather.
“It’s a day where people can come and see what we do, without a lot of pressure and we get to talk to a lot of people while they wander.”