WALKERTON – It was a Christmas gift a year in the making.
Mary Jane Bushell, president and CEO of Larsen and Shaw Ltd., Walkerton, explained, “For several years my husband and I have supported local farms through their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs.
“The idea behind this is that we pay for shares prior to the start of the season, which helps the farmer with the upfront costs. In return, we get to ‘share’ in the bounty during harvest time. We have participated in the Green Being Farm Winter CSA for many years. The winter CSA contains root vegetables and greens that they grow in hoop houses in Neustadt.”
She said that this locally grown, organic food has taste and nutrition unlike anything that could be purchased from a commercial source, and supporting local agriculture and business is important.
Over a year ago, Bushell began speaking with Tarrah Young of Green Being Farm in Neustadt about growing produce specifically for Larsen & Shaw’s Christmas giveaway.
“We committed to the plan in February –the earliest Christmas shopping I’ve ever done,” said Bushell.
“Tarrah and her small team toiled through the summer and autumn months to grow and appropriately store the root vegetables (carrots, squash, cabbage, beets, rutabaga, garlic, potatoes, onions). She also coordinated with other local producers to supply honey and homemade soap.
“Her team packaged all the goodies in bins that were purchased from Kaufman’s ValuMart in Walkerton. To top things off, Brenda Vanthyghem, an employee of Larsen & Shaw, provided homemade sugar cookies that were decorated by hand using the corporate logo. We tossed in a corporate image tuque.”
Bushell explained that supporting local producers is in complete alignment with the company’s values and guiding principles.
“We aim to be a progressive and productive corporate citizen,” she said, “operating with integrity in matters pertaining to the environment and community initiatives.
“To us, this is not just a plaque on the wall. We must demonstrate it and we hope that we have done that by choosing an environmentally responsible, nutritious and fun local gift that rewards our dedicated and committed employees at this very special time of year. In addition, we ordered extra hampers that have been donated to families in need through Green Being’s network.”
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times