The story of how Fresh Forage has roots with my previous profession of being a commercial hay farmer.
I grew up on a small acreage just outside of Brandon, Manitoba where my parents operated a haying operation that increased in size as I grew older. My teenage years were full of riding behind the baler stacking small square bales with my father on a bale wagon. It was hard work but my father instilled in me a strong work ethic and a love for farming. Over the years he added more tractors, balers, and bale pickers to his operation where I learned how to work every piece of equipment and worked in tandem with him and my mom. At the height of their operation we were baling between 20,000 and 30,000 small square bales of hay and straw per year.
After leaving the family farm, I pursued my interest in university and consulting engineering where I thrived but always longed to once again smell the fresh cut grass and the satisfaction of a neatly baled field. So I left my promising career behind to follow my heart and desire to get dirt and diesel on my hands.
I entered back into farming with a different tactic of focusing on baling large square bales instead of the small ones that my parents did. I grew my operation from one baler doing a couple hundred acres to running multiple balers and crews, shipping hay and straw across Canada and into the United States.
I enjoyed the challenges and it pushed me to learn new skills such as getting my Class 1 license with air. I was really good at being a commercial hay farmer which included reading the weather and determining the best times to cut and bale. The weather always proved to be challenging and could be the difference between having a good year and a really bad year.
I thought to myself, is there an industry that I can utilize my green thumb that is not dependent on the weather or the same market conditions that I was subjected to with haying? From those thoughts came the idea for Fresh Forage. Fresh Forage started off initially as a business for selling barley fodder for horses but quickly changed to growing microgreens for people.
I grew the business from experiments in the washroom to my sister in-law's basement then finally to the commercial grow space Fresh Forage now occupies. I have been blessed to expand it here at Osborne from 2 small rooms to occupying 2/3 of the basement with multiple grow rooms.
Unfortunately I am no longer able to farm hay commercially due to an accident, however I am still able to use my green thumb and grow greens indoors year round. I am blessed that the situation could have been much different and that I can still be a farmer!