Passionate About Providing Their Local Community with Fresh, Home-Grown Healthy Foods at Affordable Prices.
Since the late 1940’s, the Gerrie Family have been a staple in the farming industry on the outskirts of the scenic town of Elora, Ontario. What began with Harvey and Alice Gerrie as a chick hatchery and a flourishing tree, flower and shrub nursery, grew and changed over the years. In 1986 when their son Paul took over, he began growing more produce while expanding the farm market. Further expansion took place in 2005 when Paul began to bring in other locally grown produce and added baked goods and frozen meats to the store, while the Garden Centre was extended by packaging and selling quality garden seeds along with fertilizers and soils. Fast forward to 2016, which saw Gerrie’s continue their growth and included rebuilding the store and facilities and adding new products like dairy, flour, cereals, quality oils and preserves to the shelves.
Now, Gerrie’s Garden Centre and Farm Market is under the third generation leadership of Paul’s son Tim, who says that the family business has always continued to diversify. “Today we are now basically a one stop ‘Farm Store’, where we continue to offer all of the quality products from the past years, including our own produce and the local produce and fruits and with the Garden Centre, plenty of annuals, some perennials, seeds, soils, fertilizers and more. “
Tim says that since day one, the family business has always been about providing ‘Farm to Table’ products for the customer. “I would say that it was definitely a ‘producer to customer’ relationship that my Grandparents highly valued when they launched the family business back in the late 1940’s and now you see so much exposure given by the media to buy local, which has definitely helped to reinforce the ‘Farm to Table’ method of providing healthy, fresh and home-grown foods, at prices that people can afford.”
So why is there so much emphasis being placed on ‘Farm to Table’ products now?
“I believe that there is a movement towards valuing the fact that the younger generation know where their food is coming from and, therefore, they are now going to the food producer or a local source who is sourcing it from a producer and in turn, this cuts out the corporate middle man. People today, seem to value this more than some have in the past.”
What is it that makes Gerrie’s such a popular destination for people seeking ‘Farm to Table’ products?
“For the most part I think it is the relationship that they have established with the producer. We have our on-farm store and they are able to come and visit and see a working farm in action, that is actually producing the food they eat. Our produce is grown organically, which we continue to see the benefit of and we are constantly working at building the health of our soil. This contributes to the health of our plants and helps add nutrients to the fruit that we grow. Also, there has been talk about food shortages, so I believe that the more you buy closer to home and the better you know the producers, then the more secure the food chain becomes. We also see rising prices in the market now, as items that are coming in from Mexico or overseas cost more because of shipping and people are now starting to realize that buying local keeps cost down and keeps revenue in their own community. ”
You are in Elora, how do people find out about Gerrie’s?
“We advertise in places like this magazine and local papers and Facebook and Instagram (Gerrie’s Farm Market) and a web site that we plan on updating soon, but we do attract most of our business through word of mouth. I would say that 90 to 95 per cent of our customers are from the Fergus/Elora area, but we also have a few customers from Guelph and some from the GTA and surrounding areas.”
Tim says that the company just recently went under a new name to Gerrie’s Farm Market and that soon they will be releasing a new logo. They are located on the corner of Gerrie Road and Colborne Street nestled between Fergus and Elora and you can find them at: gerriesgardencentre.com.
WRITTEN BY: LARRY SIMPSON | RESOURCES: GERRIE’S FARM MARKET