SPENCERVILLE - It's a blustery, snowy day around the Fair Sun Farm greenhouses but owners Marnie Chown and Patrick van der Berg are well in to prep mode.

The slogan at their certified organic farm is 'Growing with the sun, eating with the seasons' and they're anticipating a great growing season this year. The couple believes in harvesting the best food for their community while also caring for the health of the soil and ecosystem.

"We're really passionate about people being connected to their food," says Marnie, adding they want to educate people on how their food is grown and where it comes from. They also wish to empower people to grow their own food if they wish - which is why this year they're introducing more nursery starts of fruit and vegetable seedlings for purchase.

"We believe that fresh, local, organic veggies are the healthiest and best tasting veggies available," says Marnie, noting as a family with their young son Damian they also store and preserve their harvest to carry them through the winter.

"There are a lot of people staying closer to home with the pandemic and many seem to be trying more home gardening than in previous years," says Marnie, adding more people gardening caused some seed shortages last year. "We ordered ours much earlier this year to make sure we have enough of everything and a large variety."

A big part of their business is the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) veggie subscription program. In just a year, they doubled their CSA customers from 100 to 200.They were able to do this after expanding their operations, including the addition of two new greenhouses.

"We've dramatically increased our capacity," says Marnie, noting they've expanded the sizes of their gardens since buying the farm in 2017.

"We're determined and we realized there was demand. We also offer our members products from other local farms, such as eggs, honey and grain products alongside our veggies."

The couple returned home to this area after farming in rural Alberta for 10 years. "We saw an opportunity here to raise food for people in a regenerative and organic way and make it our full-time livelihood," says Marnie. Their County Road 21 farm, which they purchased from retiring organic farmers, also brought them closer to their extended family.

Like most businesses, the pandemic changed the way they did business in 2020. Marnie and Patrick offered more home delivery when traditional farmers' markets couldn't open. They have on-farm sales and pickup set up moving forward and they've delved into online sales.

"The farm is growing fast as lots of people see the benefits of local, fresh organic produce," says Patrick. They also like to keep things interesting by trying out new veggie varieties while expanding the number of crops that they grow.

Learn more about Fair Sun Farm, located on County Road 21 near Spencerville, by visiting their website, Facebook and Instagram pages. Give them a call at 613-914-5572.