Trevor Van Hoffen, left, and Peter Glasbergen. DON RICKERS

More than fruit and veg at multi-generational family farm

Peter Glasbergen has farming in his blood. He’s the third generation of Glasbergens to work the Fenwick soil since his grandfather bought the property in 1955. The farm on Foss Road has nine acres, with three occupied by greenhouse structures, while the second farm, at the corner of Weber Road and Church Street, has 22 acres, with nine dedicated to greenhouses.

“We’ve always had a little roadside stand, where we sold primarily cucumbers and tomatoes,” said Glasbergen. “When Covid started, and all the shutdowns happened, a lot of my farmer friends started to bring some of their produce here. And it just kept expanding, such that we now have a huge variety available here at our Niagara Fresh Market, at 760 Foss.”

The market has cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins and gourds from Pineview Farms and Johnson Farms, sunflowers from Slappendel’s, garden mums from Greenfield Greenhouses and Floral Dimensions, meats from Big Red in Thorold, dairy products from Hewitt’s in Oshweken, chocolate from Marshfield in Wainfleet, and White Meadow syrups and sauces, said Trevor Van Hoffen, Glasbergen’s son-in-law, who manages part of the operation.

Fruits such oranges and bananas are also available, which of course are not grown locally. Baked goods, eggs, canned goods, and pre-made boxes of produce are also listed on the market’s website.

“We deliver to all of Niagara and Dunnville, three days a week,” said Van Hoffen. “It’s free on purchases over $50. Customers can go to our website, niagarafresh.ca, fill their cart with produce, pay by credit card, and their order gets delivered the next day.”

Business was brisk for Niagara Fresh Market during the pandemic, with seniors and those without easy transportation especially eager to have food delivered to their door.

“We’re trying to maintain the momentum, bringing in new products, and attracting new customers,” said Van Hoffen. “People are very accustomed to buying online these days.”

Glasbergen said that they are price-competitive with supermarkets. In fact, he now sells some of his home-grown produce to some local grocery chain locations, and is developing a list of restaurant customers as well.

“As a larger-scale business, we deal with about 70 grocery stores in southern Ontario, direct-to-store,” he said.

The market is open year-round, with a seasonal garden centre. Pumpkins and mums are popular in October, while Christmas urns dominate in November and December. Christmas trees are brought in from Sloan Nurseries in Bothwell, near London, and poinsettias are sourced from Spring Valley, in Jordan, and Slappendel’s in Fenwick.

Niagara Fresh employs two full-time and four part-time staff, including a delivery driver. The farm operation involves about 60 workers, many of them migrant workers from Mexico, living on site.

To place an order, see the website at www.niagarafresh.ca, or call the roadside stand at 905-380-0771.