If you’ve ever wandered through a farmers’ market during the warm months in Manitoba, you’ve likely come across many small farm producers who share their delicious, mouth-watering fresh produce with us each summer. Britt Embry and Justin Girard are among these producers, heading up the Hearts & Roots farm near Elie, Manitoba. With a fantastic approach to digital marketing and plenty of photos of adorable animals and colourful produce, Hearts and Roots caught our attention early this year. Take a peek into their quaint farm in rural Manitoba…
So, all we know about Hearts and Roots so far is that you have a super cool Instagram feed. Can you give us a bit of background and tell us what your farm is all about?
We are a small-scale, spray-free fruit and vegetable farm growing on five acres. Our focus is a unique array of produce that highlights the colours, shapes and flavours often neglected by large-scale operations. Justin is the fourth generation farming this land – albeit a different kind of farming than his family before him!
Your farm seems like a flurry of activity. What animals call the farm home?
Currently: goats, chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, bees, and, of course, our beloved farm dogs and cats. The animals, though they add to our heavy workload, are a constant source of joy on the farm, hence why they make their way on to our Instagram feed so frequently! We are not in the livestock business, but we find it’s a privilege to keep livestock on our property.
Are there any times when people can come by to visit the farm and animals?
Though we wish we could host visitors on the farm more frequently, our busy schedule and our very small staff (only one employee) doesn’t provide us with that freedom. However, we are working on opening our figurative gates for an open farm day this fall. We are really looking forward to making the time to connect with the community that supports us on our home turf.
One of the best things about summer are the farmers’ markets. Where do you sell your produce?
We love our farmers’ markets; it’s one of our favourite parts of farming! This year, we will be at the Downtown Winnipeg Farmers’ Market on Thursdays beginning June 9th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We will also be popping up at Forth (171 McDermot Ave) on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m starting June 17th. We are excited to be participating in the First Friday Farmers’ Market that will be taking place at different locations in the Exchange. And we will be attending the Shelmerdine Farmers’ Market for the second year in a row on August 13th and 14th. Our social media is good way to keep tabs on where to find us this summer!
All this fresh veggie talk is getting us hungry. What are your favourite restaurants in Manitoba?
In your experience, what is the best thing about living in rural Manitoba?
The landscape in all its seasons is one of the best things about living in rural Manitoba – the hoarfrost, the North American wood ducks, the blue herons, the blue skies and sometimes even the dandelions look okay! There’s nothing boring about our flat lands.
Are there any spots or attractions in your area that you’d like to share?
There aren’t any big attractions close by, but we do live in a beautiful area and we enjoy driving the back roads. However, if you go a little further, you can find the beautiful Beaudry Park, the cute Headingley Library, and in the other direction some great cross country skiing trails!