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Farmer Stories

Coastal Grove Farm

Matthew Roy and Cynthia Bazinet run Coastal Grove Farm. We talked with them about their unique crops.

Tell us about your farm:

We are a small operation located on the southwestern coast of Nova Scotia.  We grow saffron, tea, herbs, and mixed vegetables.  We also partner with chefs in Nova Scotia in producing unique products for their dishes, like vegetable dusts for presentation, dehydrated flowers, and uncommon vegetables. Aside from typical field cultivation, we operate a 2500 sq ft geothermal permanent soil greenhouse that allows us to grow citrus and other tropical crops. We are sensitive to our carbon footprint and have been able to harvest all of our compost needs right from our shore.

Why did you become certified organic?

For over 25 years, we’ve been firm believers in organic practices.  It was only natural that we’d establish ourselves as an organic operation when we started this enterprise.  At this time, we are the only organic operation in Shelburne County, and the response from the community has been overwhelming.

What’s been your biggest challenge?

By far the biggest challenge has been our status as immigrants.  Securing financing was (and is) a tremendous barrier to growing this operation.  As well, Canada is oriented towards supporting traditional crop growers, so there are few programs or funding sources available for growers of novel crops.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Heading down to the beach with Tilda, our dog, to harvest seaweed with the sounds of crashing waves on the shore is pretty hard to beat. (We use seaweed compost for fertility). We hear from people all the time how happy they are with our products. Whether it’s people at the Farmers' Market or attending one of our workshops or buying our produce at the local grocery store, they consistently give us feedback that makes all the hard work worthwhile.  Life is good.

Where to buy:

Our saffron and herbs are available on our website, coastalgrove.ca.  All of our products are available at the Shelburne Guild Hall Farmers' Market during the market season.  Also, our saffron and herbs can be found at the Barrington Museum Complex Gift Shop in Barrington, Nova Scotia or through their online store.  During the summer, our produce is available at Nickerson’s No Frills in Barrington Passage, Nova Scotia. 

Our tea plants are still young. We may soon be offering herbal green teas and in 2-3 years, we’ll have plants mature enough to offer Nova Scotia grown black tea.