At Gus Primeau’s stall at the newly opened Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market, shoppers can find freshly-cut peonies, gladiolus, and dahlias along with beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet potatoes, all grown at The Back 40.
“My regulars are who motivate me every day. I have individuals who buy flowers or produce each and every week,” says Gus, a MyPick® Verified Local Farmer® who owns The Back 40, a farm in Pontypool, Ontario. “Some [customers] even come to the farm for produce if they can’t make it to market on Saturdays.”
Gus, who has been verified since 2015, says his favourite part of belonging to the program is the trust it builds with customers since he has been certified by a third party organization.
“The MyPick® certification is crucial in that it provides transparency to our customers. They feel confident that the products they are purchasing are grown locally and that the producer has an intimate knowledge of the product.” This makes the certification renewal fee totally worth it, he adds.
The certification has also encouraged Gus to adopt more sustainable practices at The Back 40, like using pesticides, avoiding GMO seeds and reusing seeds when possible.
“I proudly display my poster, and take time to explain the program to anyone who is interested,” says Gus, who started farming as a teenager for a summer job. He returned to his farming lifestyle in 2014 when he retired.
Gus says that customers are keen to learn about MyPick® once they are aware of it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t think enough customers know the program exists – which means more farmers need to become MyPick® verified in order to collaborate and create more awareness.
“MyPick® allows certified farmers to formally cooperate with [each] other… I can buy and sell from another MyPick certified farmer, as long as we disclose the fact that we are cooperating with each other.”
This is one of the many reasons Gus suggests all vendors get the certification. It also benefits the market, customers and the community at large.
“I would recommend MyPick® certification because I believe that consumer transparency is vital. I believe there is a certain level [of trust] that is attained when customers can walk through a market knowing that nothing is imported, mislabelled or misrepresented.”
Click here to read about other MyPick® Verified Local Farmer®s.