Local Market Offers Quality Plants & Advice
By: Yvonne Van De Wiele-Cooper
For many in Brantford/Brant and beyond, Elberta Farms Country Market on Governors Road is the go-to spot for fresh, local produce. Many customers of the nearly 50-year-old landmark drop by weekly, all year round, from as far away as Toronto for their local farm fresh eggs, fruits, vegetables, apple cider and more!
The family business was started by their father Joseph and mother Elizabeth, whom the operation is named after. It began in 1967 on the same location where it remains today. The farm began with a few acres of apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more. By 1970, “the garden” became so abundant, they decided to offer their homegrown produce to the local community.
The markets popularity and success stems from a hard work ethic, that all six Berta children grew up with. Andrew, Michael and Stephen who run the operation with the guidance of their mother remember coming home from school and given a choice by their parents; “You can pick 10 bushels of tomatoes before or after dinner, the choice is yours.” Elizabeth recalls, “The kids didn’t have summer holidays, they had work holidays!” That work ethic is the central reason they have been around for almost 50 years!
But something the Berta’s want top of mind this gardening season is, like the local produce they offer, they also provide a wide selection of the highest quality garden plants. “We do pride ourselves in offering the healthiest plants and the largest variety,” says Andrew.
They stress the plants come directly from the greenhouse. The brothers are hand inspecting the plants and selecting the healthiest flats to bring in. Their selection includes; vegetable and bedding plants, herbs and flowers, along with solid experienced based advice. “From the beginner to the more veteran gardener we have a full array of garden plants along with the advice to go with it,” says the family.
That includes a “huge” selection of herbs and if you enjoy hot peppers, Elberta Farms is the place to go! They boast the top 10 selection of the world’s hottest pepper plants. Dragons Breath, Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Scorpion and Ghost Pepper plants can all be found here.
“Even with our tomato selection, we have all the popular plants plus delicious heirloom varieties,” says Michael. Elizabeth who is still very much involved with her business stresses “If we don’t have a certain plant, we’ll try our best to find it for our customers.” They even have rhubarb plants and asparagus root for those who want to grow their own patch, and look no further if you want to grow a pot of catnip for your furry friend.
You can also purchase everything to get your garden started. From garden soil, triple mix, manure and more! They’re also planning to bring in something called “coop poop” a local chicken based manure. “It’s fantastic for your soil,” says Michael.
The first of the coveted locally grown vegetables available at their market is asparagus, which will be starting just about now. “Nothing compares to that first taste of spring,” says Stephen.
Throughout the summer there’s also a popular petting zoo on site. Last year there were six goats including Zeus, Rocco, Maximus, Dumbo, as well as Boris the sheep. You can even feed them corn yourself!
As one of the few open air markets to be found in the region, Elberta Farms Country Market offers personal, friendly service along with local quality produce. “Our father built the business on the notion that ‘our customers always come first’ and the family feels that has been lost in today’s retail environment, “so that’s something we look to bring back.” You can also follow Elberta Farms on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The market is open seven days a week. For more info, check out elbertafarms.ca or call 519-752-2047.
Instagram & FB: @elbertafarmscountrymarket