First-generation apple growers Andrew and Jennifer Lovell of Keswick Ridge, New Brunswick were chosen as the 2016 Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) for the Atlantic region at a recent awards event in Charlottetown, PEI.
Andrew and Jennifer own and operate River View Orchards (www.seerivervieworchards.com), a diversified u-pick farm market operation that includes apples, pears, plums, strawberries, raspberries, pumpkins and other vegetables. They host school tours, operate an agricultural fence and orchard trellis construction service, and host farm-themed birthday parties.
“It’s so refreshing to see a young couple such as the Lovells getting started in a farming career,” says Jack Thomson, past chair of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers program. “Our industry depends on innovative and fresh ideas, and we must create an environment that encourages new farmers to enter the sector. Andrew and Jennifer have embraced the industry and created an educational and fun atmosphere that brings their customers closer to the farm. That’s a critical connection that’s important for our entire industry, and we congratulate Andrew and Jennifer on their commitment and passion for agriculture.”
The Lovell’s story of how they got into farming is different than many. Neither of them grew up on a farm, but Andrew had dreams of owning his own farm for years. And in 2012, their dream came true when they purchased a farm that can trace its roots to the original land grants in 1784. Andrew manages the farm operation, and Jennifer continues her work as a full-time nurse. Their goal is to grow their farm to be large enough that one day their children Robert (11) and Elsie (4) can carry on the family farm, if they choose.
Andrew and Jennifer focus on providing high-quality fresh produce and delivering customer satisfaction. Along with their diverse u-pick operation, they grow apples for the commercial market, and the first Fuji apples ever planted in New Brunswick. They welcomed more than a thousand school children to their farm in the past year to learn about agriculture, pick apples, take in a guided educational hike around the farm, and wander through a corn maze. They have further diversified by offering an agricultural fence and orchard trellis construction service and even host farm themed birthday parties including wagon rides, giant sandbox, bouncy castles, kite flying and UTV rides.
Off the farm, Andrew gives back to the industry as a director of the New Brunswick Agriculture Alliance, chairs the committee that’s establishing the Agricultural Coalition to provide management services for New Brunswick commodity groups, is current chair of New Brunswick Apple Growers Association and sits on the Apple Working Group of the Canadian Horticulture Council. Jennifer volunteers with church and children’s activities.
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2016 will be chosen at the National Event in Niagara Falls, Ontario from November 29 – December 4, 2016.
Source: Outstanding Young Farmers news release