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-Anne Käärid, Farmgate Meals

I am a simple woman who has worn many hats through my lifetime. I've enjoyed careers in graphic design; administration with arts, heritage, health and not-for-profits; and wholistic massage, natural health and eastern therapies – but none have soothed my soul as much as nurturing my community through my kitchen and gardens! I have always enjoyed my time in the kitchen, and as a northern European gal, I think I am hardwired to make sure my loved ones are well fed and taken care of! Over the past ten years, it has become very evident that my true love lies in the patches of dirt in my yards where I grow my herbs, which provide me ingredients to make natural products and remedies, and of course create home-cooked meals in the kitchen.

When I brought my little puppy Sophii home at 8 weeks, I had already made the decision to feed her real food and make her treats from natural ingredients myself. These I shared with friends and neighbours for a few years until some of them suggested I try selling them at Market. When I was a new 'empty-nester', I thought I would try that out, and was surprised to find that many people are interested in natural health and feeding their pets whole foods as well. This has been a lot of fun, with many challenges and a great learning curve as I've never been in the "sales/retail" industry before. However, we are starting to get a hang of things, and I am really enjoying the interaction of working with the community.

About the same time that I started sharing Sophii's Choice at the Owen Sound Farmers' Market, I had begun sharing my home cooking privately with some friends that were either convalescing, not eating regularly, or feeling the pinch of the empty nest as I was. I had been making soups and meals for my two sons, freezing them, and sending them to their schools for them to eat whilst away from home, and I began sharing some of these meals with my friends too. Well, more friends and neighbours heard about it, and asked if they could be included. The wee group grew, and I have been blessed to be able to cook for a beautiful assortment of friends over the past couple of years, and have been asked by more than a few if I would go "public" with this home cooking. Well, I make whole food stews and treats for dogs and cats - so why not for people too! Right? Since finding a part time job to supplement my income has been near impossible to find, my thinking was that this could be the answer to my needs. So many people today work two or even three jobs to make ends meet. Who's to say that I cannot do the same? These 'jobs' just happen to be my own businesses instead of part time positions. The entrepreneurial spirit urges me forward!

So here it is - I'm venturing out with empty nest project #2: Farmgate Meals. Both of these small businesses satiating my passion for being in the kitchen, tending my garden, and nourishing my community (both two legged and four legged) with my hands, my heart, and my meals. With Farmgate Meals I am able to offer whole food frozen meals, ready to reheat and eat! As I do with Sophii's Choice, I source my meats and produce from the Farmers' Market and the Grey-Bruce region wherever and whenever possible. Our region produces delicious food in ecologically friendly ways to ensure the highest-grade regional meats, and freshest produce. By supporting our farmers, we are keeping food dollars in our local economy, and we positively impact the sustainability of local farms, producers, distributors and their families. And truthfully, our region's foods just taste great! Using these remarkable ingredients, I prepare simple home-cooked meals, made with little to no salt and frozen and packaged for convenient storage. There are meat based and vegetarian based options, and I plan to tweak some of the menu quarterly to accommodate seasonal meals and produce. These dinners are sold fully frozen ($5 each or six for $25) at the Owen Sound Farmers' Market each Saturday for your convenience.

I look forward to seeing my friends, old and new, at the Owen Sound Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings to pick up a meal or two – for yourselves and your pets too!

From my kitchen to yours-
Anne


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