Amy & Patrick Kitchen
Owners of Sideroad Farm
Walter's Falls

It was February 2013 and for the first time on our 5-day drive across Canada, it began snowing. We had just driven around Georgian Bay, south from Sudbury, on the last leg of our move eastward from Chilliwack, BC. It was then and there I realized that my MEC raincoat that had served me so well through Vancouver winters wasn’t going to cut the mustard in Grey County.

Pat, myself (Amy) and our two pups, Layla and Yarrow, settled into a little home in Clarksburg that winter, with our sights set on starting a new market garden farm on Pat’s family land in Heathcote. We had been growing vegetables and flowers for some years on rented land in BC (where I am from and Patrick and I met), but felt the urge to put down roots and settle on a farm of our own in a place we might be able to afford to do it – hence our move eastward. That winter of 2013, Sideroad Farm was started.

In our first few seasons we grew vegetables, flowers and raised turkeys, chickens, laying hens and heritage pigs on pasture on the windy, heavy clay laden hillsides of Heathcote, ON. We dug ponds for irrigation, built paddocks and livestock shelters from scratch, tended to baby seedlings in our garage and worked incredibly long hours, days, weeks, and months to bring our dreams to fruition.

Amy Patrick and Family

Photo Credit: Clay Dolan, Escarpment Magazine

Fast forward a few seasons and eventually we purchased our own farm close to the village of Walter’s Falls, where Sideroad Farm now operates. In this time, we also started a family with the addition of Wyatt (age 4) and Norah (10 months). Our family now makes our life and living growing organic vegetables and cut flowers, and raising laying hens and chickens on pasture. We sell our products year-round to local restaurants and retailers like Mudtown Station and Casero in Owen Sound, Goldsmith’s Orchard Market in Thornbury and Eat Local Grey Bruce (online), at local farmers markets in Collingwood, harvest box customers locally and in Toronto, and through our on-farm store which we opened in Fall 2018.

FALL

It’s full steam ahead on the farm bringing in the fall harvest – potatoes, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, squash and the like. The trees turn colour and our flower beds go to seed, eventually turning brown with the first frost. This is the season we eat like kings and put food in jars to continue the feast through winter – tomatoes are the most important for us to have stored in order to make hearty chillis, soups and stews. Before it turns too cold and dark, we slip away from the farm for a couple of hours to go for a canoe on Robson Lake just a short 5-minute drive from our house.

WINTER

Winter is a time for planning on the farm. We spend more days inside than usual reflecting on the season past, pouring over seed catalogues to pick out new crops and writing plans for the future. We eat our way through our storage crops which we worked so hard to get out of the ground before the snow hit in the fall.  We also pick spinach from the hoophouse, which can remarkably withstand the frigid temperatures of January/February, for some coveted winter salads. Wyatt is fortunate to enjoy skiing with his Gramps and Nana at Beaver Valley Ski Club while the rest of the family tends to our market booth at the Collingwood Winter Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. On calm winter days, we enjoy low-key walks with our horses through our back hayfields and the neighbours’ forest which are covered in a blanket of soft snow.

SPRING

In spring, the lengthening of the days and warming of the ground brings new motivation to us farmers. Spring is our chance to do everything better than we have in the past.  So we set forth with great intentions planting our veggies, and flowers, first in the heated greenhouse and then eventually outside. Our first batch of baby chicks arrive and we work to make sure they stay warm, fed and hydrated in the barn before setting them out on pasture for the first time. We eat delicious fresh greens, radishes and onions from our early plantings in the hoophouse and forage for wild leeks which are abundant in the private woods surrounding our farm. Once the snow melts and before farmers’ markets start, we head to our local parks and conservation areas for small walks and hikes with Wyatt and Norah on weekends. One of our favourites is the boardwalks at Bognor Marsh Management Area which is rife with birds, frogs and wildflowers.

SUMMER

Summer is high season on the farm. We are hard pressed to find a moment to breathe, let alone leave the farm. We spend our days right here, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, feeding and moving chickens around on pasture. We get excited about each new crop that is ready for harvest; first the zucchinis then the carrots, beets, tomatoes and potatoes. Both Wyatt and Norah have been raised on a steady diet of our cherry tomatoes during the season, often right off the vine.

Even though we don’t leave the farm much during this season, we are never lonely. There seems to be an endless stream of people coming and going from the farm and we are forever grateful for the community that shows up to support us in many ways throughout the seasons. If we do have a few hours on a weekend, we enjoy the portion of the Bruce Trail that loops around Walter’s Falls which is beautiful in all seasons.

Sideroad Farm

Six years into our life in Grey County we can honestly say we are so grateful to have settled in an area where we can live, farm, play and raise our family all in one place. As market farmers, we’ve learned to embrace eating seasonally; even through the depths of winter. We are so fortunate to be farming within such a supportive community who allow us to continue doing what we love - growing good food.

Sideroad Farm is a small, family run mixed farm growing certified organic vegetables, cut flowers, and pasture-raised poultry in Walter’s Falls. You can find our bounty at the Sideroad Farm Store which is open Thursday – Saturday, at the summer and winter Collingwood Farmers’ Markets, via our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and Winter Bounty Box programs (more info online) and at local retailers and restaurants. If you’re interested in following our story please find us on Instagram @sideroadfarm and Facebook. Website sideroadfarm.com

More Ambassador Profiles

Grey County: It will Inspire you to think Outside the City

Lynne Knowlton
Lynne Knowlton
Designer & Owner of Treehouse + Cabin Retreat

We moved to Grey County 17 years ago. Our four children were young, & we wanted to find a home where they could play safely, climb trees, run through the fields & feel GOOD about home. Grey County fit like a glove, on all levels.

Tacos and Tequila in Grey County

Beth Milne and Emily Leonard
Beth Milne & Chef Emily Leonard
Founders of Casero Kitchen Table

Grey County is home, it is steeped in traditions, it is where our families live, it is a place with our favourite hangouts and it is an area we’ve always seen as being full of potential for growth.

The Ebbs and Flows of Grey County

Becky Comber
Becky Comber
Photo-Based Artist.

By pulling imagery from this ever evolving and seemingly infinite realm of the wilderness, I have become more intimately aware of this little piece of Grey County.

From passions to career in Grey County

man and boy
Colin Field
Photographer & writer for outdoor adventure travel

I feel pretty fortunate to travel as much as I do for work. But when the expanse of the Beaver Valley opens up to me and I can see all the way to Georgian Bay, I’m always thankful to call this place home.

Grandma Lambe’s Legacy

Lambe Family headshot
David Lambe
Grandma Lambe's Fruit Market

Grandma Lambe’s is much more than your average family-run local fruit stand.

Off Farm Fun

DeJong Family
Anita DeJong
Mom, farmer, marketer and lifelong learner

Our goal in this chapter of our lives was to create a life we don’t need a vacation from.

The Godfather of Ontario Craft Brewing

Headshot of Charles MacLean
Charles MacLean
Master Brewer & Founder of MacLean's Ales

While in England, I got hired as a trainee brewer. When I came back to Canada, I came up with the idea of starting a craft brewery - but that was an idea ahead of its time. 

The Most Unexpected Adventure

Headshot of Leanne Haynes
Leanne Haynes
End-to-End Bruce Trail Hiker

From day one I was looking forward to when I would hike the hills close to home.

Going Back to Our Roots

Headshot of Courtney Miller holding a Chicken
Courtney Miller
Hobby farmer and Grey County's Business Enterprise Centre Manager

We never stopped dreaming of the day when we could call the area home again.

There's No Place Like Home

Stefanie Richardson
Stefanie Richardson
Enthusiastic Local Blogger

As a Grey County raised gal, it still amazes me the new businesses that pop up on a daily basis.  So I've made it my job to spread the word!

Grey County - I Love It

Hannah Davies Headshot
Hannah Davies
Nine year old youth explorer

There are 2 reasons why I love it: because it’s beautiful and because the people are so friendly.

Making Farming Dreams into Reality

Headshot of Courtney Denard
Courtney Denard
Dairy farmer and owner of CowSpot Communications

I want to show the industry that women can have lead roles and do everything on the farm.

Grey County - Anything but Grey

Headshot of Wil McReynolds
Wil McReynolds
Landscape photographer and director of global software company, KP9 Interactive

Any season or any day - you will be mesmerized with where I call home, Grey County.

My 30 Minute Radius

Headshot of Ashley Chapman
Ashley Chapman
Vice President of Chapman's Ice Cream

Unlike many who are traveling to Grey County to escape, I don’t have that need as I am already where I want to be. 

From weekend warrior to local business owner

Rheanna Kish
Rheanna Kish
Owner of Pom Pom Treat Hut and co-creator of the Come to our Table South Georgian Bay Cookbook.

There’s an honesty to the food community here that you don’t find everywhere. 

Grey County from Above - A Whole New Perspective

Jordan De Jong Headshot
Jordan De Jong
Aerial photographer & lover of the outdoors.

From the Beaver Valley to the rocky shores of Georgian Bay, drones allow you to appreciate the beauty of these already treasured places on a whole new level.

The People of Grey County

Riel Warrilow
Riel Warrilow
Coast Guard Search and Rescue Instructor

There is something about this area that breeds hard-working and kind people.

Grey County Farm Tops for Photo Ops

Telfer Wegg
Telfer Wegg
Professional photographer - Capturing scenes from across North America & 52 countries.

I've always been interested in capturing man’s impact on rural landscapes and back road journeys in Grey County always uncover something of interest.

Discover Above & Below Grey County's Waterways

Jeff MacInnis
Jeff MacInnis
World adventurer leading the first team to ever sail the Northwest Passage.

World-Class doesn’t begin to describe the unique places you can see and be inspired by right here in Grey County.

The Magic of the Niagara Escarpment

Jennie Elmslie
Jennie Elmslie
Certified nature nut - lover of all things natural, above and below the ground

One thing I love most about Grey County is the Niagara Escarpment. Who knew a geological feature could provide so much?  

Look Up, Look Way Up...

Dave Carr Headshot
Dave Carr
Retired radio/tv host, porch sitter, certified BBQ judge and road tripper

My neighbourhood is one of the best places on earth to watch and wonder at what unfolds in the night sky...