Every year I look forward to asparagus season. For me, it’s the start of summer and having fresh Ontario-grown food readily available. As a minimalist, I keep things simple when it comes to preparing asparagus at home. A little salt, pepper and oil are all my spears need before hitting the grill. I also love to steam, blanche and add fresh, crisp asparagus to salads. It adds colour and all kinds of fresh, earthy flavour. Be sure to pick Ontario asparagus up this spring before it’s all gone, and don’t forget to thank your farmer.
Barrie’s Asparagus Q&A
Q. PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND TELL US HOW YOU BECAME INVOLVED IN FARMING?
I’m Tim Barrie from Barrie’s Asparagus in Kitchener, Ontario and I was born into asparagus farming. Both my father and grandfather were asparagus farmers. We sell fresh asparagus to restaurants and retailers locally.
Q. TELL US ABOUT YOUR FARM
Barrie’s Asparagus is located at 1236 Kings Road, on the edge of Cambridge and Kitchener. The farm is 124 acres with 60 acres of that being bush. Q. WHAT DO YOU GROW ON YOUR FARM? We grow asparagus and organic rhubarb and also rent some of our land to a local hay farmer. We also have beehives next to the spring-fed pond that we gather honey from regularly.
Q. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT FARMING?
Everything! It’s my life. The customer interactions and the fact that I get to work with my family are the best. My kids and wife are involved in the business and my Dad is also involved. It’s a true family business, and our customers are part of the family.
Q. WHY SHOULD “BUYING LOCAL” BE IMPORTANT TO ONTARIO CONSUMERS?
When you buy local you support the same people that go to school with your kids, play soccer and hockey with your kids and it’s a great way to give back to the community we live in. We support our community in every way we can. We give back, we hire customers’ kids. We use the local hardware store for our farm supplies, which also goes back to our community.
A big thanks to Tim of Barrie’s Asparagus for taking the time to share his farming story! To read the full interview, check out our Love Local Food magazine.
As a southern Ontario farm girl, Stacey appreciates the hard work that goes into agriculture and is keen to support Ontario farmers. When she’s not writing copy or engaging on social media, you can find her dining at local small restaurants, cooking or enjoying Ontario craft beer and wine.