Food Investment: Interview with A Local Farmer

foodinvestment-interviewwithalocalfarmer.jpgFood is a health investment. But is local food an affordable option?

Local food is affordable if it’s accessible” counters Dave Wolpin the 27 year old farmer and owner of Kredl's farmers market in Hampton, New Brunswick.

The key is to make local food widely accessible to the public, and Farmer Dave (as he calls himself) dreams that one day he can make that happen.

Better Grocery Store Model

Grocery stores that “represent its region’s produce” are what Farmer Dave hopes he’ll be part of in the next 5 to 10 years.

His vision is that the future grocery store model “exists as a host for the products of the region that inspires both agricultural excellence and cultivates culinary culture”.

But what is agricultural excellence?

It’s agriculture without the use of chemicals, which is also Farmer Dave’s long-standing philosophy. He’s boisterously proud that his farm produce is “no-spray” and quite indignant why anyone would ever spray chemicals on their produce.

For one thing, organic certification costs money which translates to added cost for the consumer. So Farmer Dave settles with a “no-spray local” label for his own farm produce.

Granted, we’ll have to take his word for that. However, even with an organic certification, mandatory laboratory testing to ensure that the produce has no pesticides is not part of the process. Essentially, we still end up having to trust that the “organic” label holds up - and then pay added cost anyway.

Local Produce Price-Comparison

Farmer Dave started pruning his first garden with gooseberries and rhubarb at 4 years of age. No doubt about it: food was his first love. In fact, he was already found crawling around his parent’s garden at age 2!

Born and raised in the small town of Hampton with a population of 4,292, it was not a surprise when Farmer Dave joined the Kredl's payroll at age 11. In fact, it seemed only natural to him and those close to him when finally--11 years later--he has taken over full ownership of Kredl's at age 22.

To demonstrate his point on the affordability of local food, Farmer Dave and his team created a price-comparison spreadsheet with a list of produce, its origin and price snapshot is available on his site. You can check it out right here.

Here’s an excerpt of the price comparison of produce sourced locally (within the Maritimes: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) vs those from two other grocery chains:


Four Reasons To Go Local

Here are four reasons to shop local according to Farmer Dave:

#1. Key to a thriving economy

People don’t realize how substantial local multiplier economic [sic] can be”, was Farmer Dave’s empathic answer. In simple terms, the local multiplier effect champions supporting local as the key to a thriving economy.

He shares that Simply For Life founder (and local resident) Bruce Sweeney was one of his first clients back in 2009 when Farmer Dave started offering his weekly seasonal ‘produce packs’.

Although he did not know it back then, his ‘produce packs’ were also known as CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) packs. These seasonal local packs of fresh produce are typically picked straight from the farm first thing in the morning and delivered to convenient pick-up locations a few hours later (yes, the very same day) where individuals and families come and get their subscribed produce package.

Last year, I signed up for Farmer Dave’s $40 weekly produce packs from June to December which included: a weeklong vegetable supply, some herbs, some fruit or mushrooms depending on the week, a dozen eggs, and a fresh loaf of bread from Kredl’s bakery.

He anticipates about 200 families will sign up for his weekly produce packs this year. In fact, he shares that in the next two months he plans to fill 30 positions, half of which are full-time. This spike of employment will not go unnoticed in a small town.

I haven’t yet, but I definitely plan to sign up again this year. And I can hardly wait to get my fresh produce packs come June!

#2. In-season produce is always cheaper

Buying local in-season produce is always going to be cheaper.

There is a misconception, says Farmer Dave, that local produce is only available for 6 months when, in fact, we can buy local produce all year round. When asked for specific produce available all-year round, here’s his list:

  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • beets
  • apples
  • sweet potatoes
  • greenhouse tomatoes
  • onions
  • cabbage
  • garlic
  • turnips
  • greenhouse english cucumbers

#3. Less travel time

Local means less travel time, which then decreases the cost for food transportation.

In season produce is not only more delicious, it is also cheaper because it is in abundant supply. When there’s a surplus of produce, the cost goes down.

#4. More nutritious

And what about the health effects? Farmer Dave’s consistent position is this:

As a human, your mission should be to seek out the most nutritious food. It happens to be that food that travels less and is grown in nutrient dense soil is the most nutritious. So, local and organic or food grown in really great soil are byproducts of eating nutritious food.

But why is local food more nutritious?

You may have noticed that most produce sold at large grocery stores is grown thousands of miles away: California, Mexico, Spain, Morocco, South Africa, and China.

Consider an apple.

Caleb Harper--in this Ted Talk--asked how old an apple typically sold from a grocery store is.

A few weeks? Maybe a couple of months, at the most?

It turns out that the average age of an apple is a staggering 11 months! Just a month shy of a year.

Why should we care? Because after 11 months of storage “90% of the quality of that apple, all the antioxidants are gone...It’s basically a little ball of sugar” Caleb Harper points out in his Ted Talk.

So we thought we were taking a bite of nutrition from that apple...Turns out, all we’re getting is subprime nourishment. A distasteful reality check.

Final Thoughts

Few people would argue that farming is hard work. For Farmer Dave, it’s more than’s also about striving to make nutritious local food widely accessible to local residents at an affordable price.

There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t find meaning in what I do”, says Farmer Dave. It’s not hard to get on board with that.

Getting to know your local farmers and food suppliers can bring insight to what you put on your plate. With reports on food counterfeit increasing in recent years, it’s yet another reminder that as consumers we need to watch our backs...this time against food fraud.

If you’re interested in this topic, please leave a comment below as I plan to do a follow-up on this article: Food Investment: Eat Local Tips and List Of Local Farmers. I’ll share some simple tips as well as a compilation of local farmers by province.

For now, here’s my take: nutritious food is a health investment. I spend selectively on the non-essentials so I can allocate more of my capital towards nutritious food, which is a daily essential.

Where do you stand? Leave a comment below...

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Irene's picture


Good to know there are still reporters like you out there to let us know about issues like this. As a parent, I tried to raise my kids to read labels from any packaged foods, and actually taught them (in spite of protests) to teach them to cook for themselves. My son actually had the manager of one of the stores come up to him while he was checking a label and asked my son what he was doing and why, and then took my son out for a bite to eat to learn how to read a list of ingredients.

One of the problems is that even if you care about what you are eating, sometimes you don't know how to cook it properly. I only recently found out how to make a tasty French soup with butternut squash. I have bought endive at a supermarket and had a man ask me how to prepare it while in the check-out counter. Ditto for turnip. And last summer, while on vacation, we stopped at a deer farm and bought fresh venison. (Still do not know best way to cook it, but one day I will.)

Like you, I shop carefully. I have to as a single parent on a low income. But health is important. God bless the farmers like Dave.


March 22, 2016 @ 2:11 pm
Maria Weyman
Maria Weyman's picture

Thanks for reading Irene,

I’m not a reporter, just a consumer who cares about food and nutrition. I’ve been a long-time advocate of eating nutritious food in my home, so I thought I’d write about it. Farmer Dave presents an inspiring story of dedication to what he does, and I think he’s not an isolated case amongst local farmers.

Last fall, we took the kids to visit a small farm owned by a retired couple - garlic is their primary produce. They were hospitable, kind, and proud of their farm. They gave us a free tour and let my daughter pick some carrots right from the soil, cleaned them up a bit, and they were ready to eat. My daughter loved it.

Like you, I’m teaching my kids to read the labels and to cook meals at home. Cooking was a steep learning curve for me, there was lots of trial and error. And even today, I still like to experiment but the practice over the years has made me more confident about cooking now. Having a meal plan with recipes ready to go helped tremendously.

Your French soup with squash sounds delicious! 

March 23, 2016 @ 9:32 am
En's picture

Great info! I'm disturbed at the fact that the average age of an apple in a grocery store is 11 months! Yikes.

March 22, 2016 @ 8:50 pm
Maria Weyman
Maria Weyman's picture

Hi En,

I know, I was disturbed too. Caleb Harper, in that Ted talk, did say that 11 months is the average age of an apple in the US but he also said that he doesn’t expect it to be different in other countries. It’s a fascinating talk.

March 23, 2016 @ 9:33 am
cheekysaver's picture

Eating healthy can do amazing things for your health. (Don't fall over when you read this Stephen!) Stephen knows me because I am a couponer. I used to eat a lot of junk food because it tasted good and it was cheap if not free, I have changed my ways. After getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I changed my ways. What they never tell you is type 2 diabetes is curable by modifying your diet. I follow Dr John McDougall's diet and eat a high carb, no added fat vegan diet now. Dr McDougall is the Dean for nutrition based medicine and a normal MD that has 7 or 8 best sellers under his belt. It is all based on studies. Feel free to look him up on youtube. The reality is it does cost more than couponing for groceries. My blood sugar numbers are under control. There are certain things I do to bring down the cost of my fruits, veggies, beans rice ect.

The first is every once in the while I order lots of rice off a 8kg bag of white rice is $9.97, I order enough other items I need like white kidney beans so I don't have to pay shipping. I only place a order like this once every 3 months. I don't have to carry it this way and there is way more stock to choose from. I use spices to bump up if I am a couple bucks short on the total.

The second thing I do is price comparison and price match. When cabbage was on sale for $10 for a 25lb bag I got one and made my own sauerkraut. It is way cheaper to make then to buy. I scan through a small discount produce store on facebook, I enter produce on salewhale and then I still search through flyerify for a extra few stores that were missed.

The third thing I do is sometimes I just get a good food box. They vary from city to city. You get 40-45lbs of produce here for $30. You have to order it a week ahead and pay for it then and there then you go pick it up. Most of the time I don't do this though because I am allergic to things like apples, tomatoes, kiwi ect. If you want to look into the good food box and you are in a major city then google is your friend.

Every month I do a trip to costco with my parents. I get bags of frozen organic veggies and keep them on hand.

I eat very healthy on less than what most people spend on groceries in a month.

March 25, 2016 @ 2:01 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

That's great that you've taken to a more healthy lifestyle - it sounds like it's doing wonders for you. I have type 1 Diabetes myself so unfortunately all the healthy eating in the world can't help cure that. I'm glad you've been able to cure your type 2 with diet though!

Appreciate you sharing your tips on eating healthy and saving money at the same time.

March 25, 2016 @ 11:17 pm
Maria Weyman
Maria Weyman's picture

Hi cheekysaver!

Love your story. Thanks for providing some concrete examples in how you eat healthy and save money at the same time. We eat lots of rice, beans, cabbage, and other vegetables as well. I've never made my own but my sister and her hubby are experts in making their own sauerkraut. 

Where do you get your food box? Do you get it directly from a local farmer? Sounds like you get lots of fruits in yours - can you ask them to remove the fruits you're allergic to?

March 26, 2016 @ 8:00 am

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