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Photo: Jonathan Smiley

Even in wintertime, local organic farmers are taking CSA basket orders

By Laurent Robillard-Cardinal on March 2, 2018

There might still be snow on the ground, but there is plenty afoot at Ferme Pleine Lune, an organic farm in Bristol, Quebec operated by Jon Smiley and Randi Townsend.

“At this time of year we are in full-on planning mode,” explained Jon. “Randi spends most of her time creating crop plans, updating the website and taking orders. I work on catching up on building projects and creating our soil and fertility plans.”

For readers in the Hintonburg area, you might have seen Randi this past summer in front of Meat Press restaurant at the corner of Garland and Armstrong, just behind the LCBO. The eatery was one of Ferme Pleine Lune’s drop off locations for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) baskets last year. The abundance of organic produce certainly piqued the curiosity of many a passerby.

Photo: Jonathan Smiley.

“We have quite a lot of foot traffic during the pick-ups, which gives me the opportunity to explain what our farm is about and folks can have a look at what we have on offer that week,” said Randi.

Weekly, CSA members are delivered their portion of the harvest, which consists of a variety of just-picked vegetables, herbs and flowers. Everything grown at Ferme Pleine Lune is certified organic through EcoCert Canada. This means that the farm is inspected yearly to ensure that the farmers are growing according to the Canadian Organic Standards.

Their Summer CSA program runs from June to October, with pick-ups in Hintonburg, Aylmer and on their farm which is about an hour outside Ottawa. In addition to their CSA, Jon and Randi can also be found every Saturday of the Summer at the Wakefield Market. This year, they are also planning on launching a winter CSA to run from November 2018 to February 2019.

Jonathan Smiley. Photo: Randi Townsend.

Still in their thirties, the new business owners have been farming together for over four years. Their adventure together started in the fall of 2013, when Jon fortuitously popped up in Randi’s patch at the Just Food farm in Blackburn Hamlet, in Ottawa’s east end. The duo then spent a full year working on that project under the name Barefoot Gardens.

To acquire more farming knowledge, they later moved to Grey County in Southwestern Ontario to work with two experienced farmers: Leslie Moskovits and Jeff Boesch at Cedar Down Farm. Randi worked as a farm manager and Jon as a field worker. In the summer of 2016, the couple landed on a listing of an organic farm in Bristol, QC on the Sixth Line, as they were casually browsing for a farm of their own. They are now entering their second season on that property and are looking forward to many more bright seasons ahead.

Ferme Pleine Lune is located at 24 chemin Sixth Line East in Bristol, Quebec. During the summer, you can find their produce at the Wakefield Market and through their CSA program. Visit for more information.