Green Hart Farms makes it easier to eat healthy and choose local


  • Feature   Thu, Mar 24th, 2022   Veronica Reiner
Linda, left, and Kendra Danner, a mother-daughter duo who run Green Hart Farms, west of New Hamburg.


Linda, left, and Kendra Danner, a mother-daughter duo who run Green Hart Farms, west of New Hamburg.


By Veronica Reiner
Green Hart Farms, a New Hamburg based operation, aims to make it easier to eat healthier and choose local.
The farm was started by Kendra Danner in 2015. About four years later, her mother, Linda, bought into the business and the two ran it as a mother-daughter partnership.
“We grow vegetables with minimal sprays and organic approaches including mulches, compost, companion planting, and rotations,” said Linda, on how they improve product quality. She added this approach ensures that the produce is free of chemical residues at peak nutritional content.
A staple of Green Hart Farms is the Hartshare Veggie Box program. It provides an online selection of more than 40 different varieties of produce each year. This includes items from their own farm as well as other local farms.
During early spring (May to June), Green Hart Farms provides radishes, bok choy, peas shoots, arugula, spinach, lettuce, green onions, baby carrots, kohlrabi, baby fennel, salad mix, spring turnips, rhubarbs, and peas.
In late spring and summer, they provide green onions/onions, spinach, lettuce, beets, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes (cherry and slicing), sweet and hot peppers (late summer), zucchini, tomatillos, green garlic, beans, kale, herbs, and shooting broccoli.
Produce from other local farmers provided in the veggie boxes includes onions, potatoes, beets and other roots, as well as apples if they are available, and other miscellaneous veggies for variety.
“Every year, we receive much positive feedback from participants - the freshness of everything, the variety and convenience,” said Linda.
“One of the biggest benefits we hear about is that having this box of fresh produce arriving weekly at the door encourages them to eat healthier and stick to diet-related goals. They find it less tempting to go for less healthy options.”
She added that both parents and grandparents find the weekly box a fun way to get the kids excited about preparing the veggies and then enjoy eating them. “It’s a great way to get kids onto a valuable life skill and healthy habit early on.”
Linda said that eventually, they will added fruit to the Hartshare Veggie Box program. Each year, Linda and Kendra plant more perennials and they plan to offer fresh cherries and fruits grown organically on the farm.
“We continue to improve our growing skills, trying new crops each season,” said Linda. “Currently, we are working on getting better at growing Chinese Napa cabbage and stalk celery without chemical sprays. Both have their challenges.”
The program is similar to a community supported agriculture (CSA), a production and marketing model that connects the producer and consumers within the food system by allowing the consumer to subscribe to the harvest of a certain farm or group of farms.
However, members choose what goes in their delivery each week or biweekly. Green Hart Farms have a direct delivery option to homes within the specified delivery area, including New Hamburg, Baden, Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge and Stratford. On-farm pickup is available for those not in the delivery area.
Linda spoke to the importance of shopping local, as it helps to support a strong local economy. “It keeps a valuable knowledge base and skillsets being cultivated in the community… something we can see the importance of more in recent years and now with COVID impacts and long supply chains being disrupted,” she said.
The COVID-19 impacted Green Hart Farms, said Linda, and that supplies became more difficult to obtain and shipments were delayed substantially. “We have had to adapt. We plan ahead, have contingency plans and order critical items such as seed, seeding trays and pots months earlier than we did in the past.”
The organization adapted in other ways, including by moving to contactless delivery as well as contactless pickup at a self-serve stand on the farm. Masks were required for on-farm visits, distancing and extra sanitization were put in place.
Linda said they are looking to add on-farm events in the future, such as U-pick for certain crops, tours and training. For more information, visit www.greenhartfarms.ca.