The diversity of horticulture demands a diverse skill set, exactly what the judges were looking for when they awarded Alex and Jordan McKay as the 2018 Ontario Outstanding Young Farmers. They edged out several other competitors and will go to Winnipeg for the national competition November 29 to December 2.
The announcement was made at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, Ontario on September 11.
When they completed university and realized that other pursuits weren’t going to be lifetime passions, they both made their way back to Willowtree Farm based near Port Perry.
The big move came in November 2015, when the multi-generational family closed the old store and began construction of a new venue. The new market opened in June 2016, realizing a vision for a commercial kitchen, fresh butcher shop, storage, offices, and 4,300 sq. ft. of retail space. It is beautiful, constructed with old beams from one of their old barns, and a wood staircase milled from the family’s own forest.
According to their biographies, the brothers and their wives are responsible for more than 30 fruits and vegetables, sold in their retail store and in Greater Toronto Area farmers’ markets. Sweet corn is transformed into corn chowder to serve hot in the café. They also flash freeze corn for use all throughout the winter months to make a variety of delicious products.
Source: Ontario Outstanding Young Farmer website