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Farmer Stories

The Green Bear Farm

Marc Schnob, a new ACORN board member, runs The Green Bear Farm. We talked with Marc about his passion for food and farming.

Tell us about your farm:

We moved to this property with the mindset of homesteaders. The farm is a mix of market garden, pasture and forest with a series of natural springs and man-made ponds for water supply. There’s even an old apple orchard that still produces salable fruit. We’ve raised chickens, ducks and turkeys but our focus now is the two acre vegetable field where we grow all kinds of vegetables for our local markets. We rotate vegetable families in our fields to prevent pests and diseases and include rest years where the land is returned to pasture to support soil health. We tarp with geotextiles to set back the weeds; that means less weeding and less soil disturbance with tillage.

We want to offer a good variety to our customers so besides vegetables, we also sell eggs, jam, and bread. I bake 65 loaves of bread each week and it sells quickly!  (In fact, Marc was in the process of making bread as we chatted for this interview!)

Why did you become certified organic?

We are not certified organic but our practices follow organic principles. We don’t use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides - for example, our insect control is all manual. We look after the soil and try to minimize our carbon footprint. We looked into organic certification but with the diversity of crops that we grow, it was too complicated and costly. Since we sell directly to our customers and can tell them how we farm, we’ve found that they value locally grown more than certified organic.

What’s been your biggest challenge?

The weather is definitely the biggest challenge! Either too little rain or too much rain. Late frosts in spring and early frosts in fall leaving only 85 growing days. We use a heated greenhouse to start seedlings and floating row covers and frost covers to extend the season.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

I love food! When I’m at the Farmers’ Market and someone asks me for an ingredient, I want to know what they’re cooking, what’s their story? It’s very satisfying to supply my community with food - it’s a way to honour both community and culture.

Where to buy:

We sell at the Bouctouche Farmers’ Market and the New Castle Farmers’ Market in Miramichi plus at a few pop up markets. You can follow The Green Bear Farm on Facebook.