I’m Jordan MacPhee (aka "Farmer Jordan"), owner and co-founder of Eat Local PEI and Maple Bloom Farm.
That's my wife Catherine and I in front of the farm house our first year farming together in spring 2015. We did NOT know what we were about to get ourselves into… and looking back, we wouldn’t change a thing.
I wish you could have known me before I met Catherine.
10 years ago, I was a teenaged pizza delivery driver living in Charlottetown out of a bachelor pad on Walthen Drive (along with a few other ineligible bachelors). My immune system shuddered every time I walked past whatever radioactive waste was forming among the months-old pizza boxes piling up in our living room.
Yet in spite of the fact that I was (technically) part of the food system, and there were farm fields just 10 minutes away from me at all times, and I was surrounded by some of the best farmland in the nation, I was blind to the story of farming going on around me.
I never went to the farmers’ market — I know, hard to believe, right? — and if you looked in my pantry or fridge years ago, well… let's just say I worshipped at the idol of processed foods: leftover pizza (they came free with the job, how could I resist!), boxes of beer (nothing from a local brewery, of course), pancake mix, sugary cereals, white rice, and pastaroni were what I lived on. Don't feel guilty, I still have some of those in my pantry now from time to time.
I once almost called my mom to ask her how to boil an egg before I remembered Google existed.
I was overweight and out of shape. I smoked packs of cigarettes every week, I drank too much, and overall, I just didn’t take care of myself or feel the need to eat healthy food. And my mood and well-being suffered as a result.
It's not that I didn't know about farmers or the benefits of eating healthy, but since I had grown up on fast food and pop tarts, disconnected from the agricultural world, I was disinterested and frankly kind of oblivious to the story of food and farming, and how it could impact my health and my life.
And then I met Catherine at university, and my whole world changed.
Catherine helped me straighten out my life. We started dating, I stopped smoking, started eating better, drank less, and I began to feel healthier, inside and out.
And then Catherine and I enrolled in a course together at UPEI exploring the value of local farms.
During that course, on a tour at Sweet Clover Farm in Valleyfield, we met a mild-tempered farmer named Gary Clausheide, and Catherine and I were never the same again.
We were inspired by Gary’s passion for taking care of the land, treating the soil like the living thing that it is. That summer, I started working on Gary’s farm.
Sweet Clover Farm, the best living soil and most beautiful farm on PEI. We didn’t know how good we had it in our first year of farming!
In 2015, Catherine and I started Maple Bloom Farm by leasing a plot on Gary’s land, growing organic food for 45 veggie box CSA (community supported agriculture) members who were kind enough to take a chance on a young, idealistic couple of brand new farmers who wanted to make a positive change in the world and our local food system.
5 years later, now farming in Grand Tracadie, we’re providing fresh organic produce to thousands of people in our community every growing season, at farmers’ markets, grocery stores, restaurants, and — still to this day — in our veggie box CSA.
The thing is, I think so many people today live in this ‘half-reality’ like I did. They don't know what they don't know.
They never really mastered how to cook a good healthy meal. They don't know how a potato grows underground, or that strawberries grow only in the summer, and they don't know what a good tomato or a fresh carrot should taste like.
In short, their world has become so far removed from the farmer, they don't even know the hand that grows their food anymore, and yet they feel like this is something they should know… and then they stumble upon our farm and something resonates.
Wherever you are on your journey, you have come to our farm looking for something.
Whether it's food security when you buy some of our certified organic produce or wanting to be challenged to move out of your food rut by experimenting with new-to-you veggies.
Whether it's wanting to get to know the people behind a real working farm or learning how to become more confident in your kitchen so you can feel proud of what you put on the table for your family.
Or maybe it's just a really killer-tasting tomato.
Whatever it is, I want you to know we're here to guide you to your goal.
Our lives changed for the better when we joined ourselves with this farm. Maybe that's why we can't wait to be your guide and give you a backstage tour of this life we’re on. Because we know that these are the lessons of life that mattered to us.
So welcome to our farm! I know it will change you.
- Farmer Jordan
Eat Local PEI - Maple Bloom Farm