Farming has been a way of life in Grey County for decades. While far enough away to avoid the effects of urbanization–knock on wood, Grey County is still just 100 kilometres away for the daily delivery of fresh locally grown food to the rest Ontario.
In 2011, Grey County Chef and Farmer Michael Stadtlander suggested that he would like to see chefs connect with other local farmers for the purpose of direct sales.A� So a community meeting was held in Maxwell that year with an overwhelming response leading to the creation of the Chefs� Forum.
The not-for-profit organization led by farmers and chefs in Grey County, has been corralling growers and producers in the area to create direct connections to chefs.
They seek to link all natural or organic farmers in Grey County with buyers across Ontario. First, they host to farmer-to-chef meet and greets in the spring and fall to allow–as the name suggests–producers to meet chefs as well as retail and institutional buyers one on one. Second, they also run a web-site that creates seamless connections between buyers and growers over the internet.
The year old venture has recently embarked a new partnership with 100km Foods, which means that Grey’s Bounty is coming to the GTA.
Here is how it works: 100km Foods Inc. is contracted to pick up local food orders in Flesherton for distribution to Toronto chefs and buyers. Chefs Forum members list their products for sale by Wednesday and Sunday each week; then, 100 KM FOODS posts available products to their clients in Toronto and Niagara.A� Once the orders are received the farmers are informed about the quantities required and they drop off the goods the following day in Flesherton by noon to be picked up that afternoon.
?It is amazing that we have gone from 8 members in January to actual deliveries to Toronto in a year. I believe our farmers, especially those with produce, will have to quadruple production to meet the potential city demand in 2014. We are starting early now to be ready when the season really takes off next spring,” says Linda Reader.
Reader hopes to grow to as many as 75 members by the end of 2014 as confidence in the organization develops and people realize the changes it induces.
About the Chefs Forum
Making the family farm sustainable in Grey County by providing farmers with the tools and means to market locally grown natural or organic food directly to chefs and commercial buyers.