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Farmer Stories

The Organic Farm

Mike Rabinowitz runs The Organic Farm. We talked with Mike about his vision of the farm as an example of the abundance and variety of food that can be grown in NL.

Tell us about your farm.

We’ve been farming here for over 40 years. The gardens started as a way to feed our family but quickly grew more than we could eat. My late wife Melba and I wanted to encourage everyone to grow their own food so we started experimenting with different crops, selecting seeds for varieties that did well, and inviting people to visit the farm. In NL, we only produce 10% of the food we eat and we wanted to show that you can grow all kinds of food right here on the Avalon Peninsula. The farm now produces field and greenhouse vegetables, berries and fruits. We also provide employment and internships and I’m happy to say that several past employees have gone on to start their own farms. 

Why did you become certifed organic?

We wanted people to pay more attention to the organic standards - the standards lay out the practices that farmers need to follow if they want to be certified organic. New farmers can use them as a guide and get inspired to farm in a sustainable way. 

What's been your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge is making enough money to pay a decent wage to the people who work at the farm. It’s hard to make money selling vegetables. It’s an issue of scale; either you’re small scale and do all the work yourself or you go large scale - but then you have to specialize and that has its drawbacks too.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Well at 81 years old, I just don’t sleep much! 

I like experimenting. I’m interested in finding fruit tree varieties that grow well in NL. Between disease and the wind blowing fruits off the trees, it’s been a challenge. I’ve also been experimenting with growing melons. This year I successfully grew Canary melons - much tastier than Honeydew!

Where can people find your products?

We sell our produce through a CSA and by special order for pick up at the farm or drop off in a store in town or even drop off at your house. You can find information on our WEBSITE. We also sell through retail stores (Belbins, Food for Thought, Urban Market, and The Natural Vibe) and you can find our produce at several local restaurants.