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WE ARE A FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED VEGETABLE FARM, SPECIALIZING IN BRASSICA OLERACEA CROPS.
WE HAVE OVER SIXTY YEARS OF EXPERIENCE GROWING PRODUCE IN THE HEART OF CANADA. OUR FOCUS CONCENTRATES ON GROWING QUALITY VEGETABLES AND DELIVERING A CONSISTENT SUPPLY, DOING SO IN AN ECOLOGICAL AND SUSTAINABLE FASHION.
Located along the beautiful banks of the Assinaboine River in the southern region of Manitoba's prairie you will find long green rows of seasonal vegetables. From the deep greens of broccoli in late spring to the bright whites of cauliflower amongst fall colours, we extend our growing season as long as Mother Nature will allow us. Research is at the heart of our operation, and we conduct extensive trials to find the very best varieties to grow in our central Canadian climate along with our clay-loam soil.
We source these hard to find varieties from some of the very best seed producers in the world.
In addition to the broccoli and cauliflower we also produce spring and late cabbage, celery, salad cucumbers and our specialty sweet corn.
Johannes Itzke had a connection with nature, especially flowers. As a young man he enrolled in horticulture courses to build up his knowledge in the trade. The alluring colours and smells had him absorbed. Unfortunately, thereafter, he found out that the floral business wouldn't allow him to live the life that he set out for and conceptualized more fortune in market garden vegetables.
At twenty years old, nested amongst the rolling hills of northern Germany, Johannes committed to a life altering decision to borrow money from his older sister in order to purchase a one-way ticket to Canada. He did this with confidence that he would fulfill his dreams.
As the M.S. "Anna Salen", sailed away from the harbour he must have thought of his family and closest friends with the uncertainty of when or if he would ever see them again but he had a vision and that was to make something of himself.
Soil, sweat, and tears.
The recipe to which found Johannes at twenty-four years old, starting his own market garden business on a small plot of land in Fort Garry (now known as "King's Park" near the University of Manitoba). His wife, Hedwig, by his side and newborn son John Jr. Together, the small family endured many highs and lows, many early mornings and late nights but this is what needed to be done to progressively build a strong base on which they wanted to build their company.
Ten years had passed by and expansion was in progress. A short move south to St. Norbert in 1963 meant a bigger parcel of land and the addition of two more children, Uwe and Astrid.
The family of five didn't know it yet, but in another ten years they would be packing up and moving again. This time, to what they would call their forever home.
Twenty kilometres west of the quaint town of Saint Francois Xavier was 300 acres, bordered by the lush river banks of the Assiniboine River.
1973, this became home and remains home, to the present day.
Today, Itzke River Farm sizes up at approximately 1,800 acres, a thousand of which are harvestable. Head of management and operations continues to stay in the family, now being overseen by the 2nd and 3rd generations.
We are considered a "grower, packer, shipper", meaning every case of vegetables that is moved out of our warehouse was wholly produced on our soil from seed to harvest. Our pride lies within the quality and consistency of which we provide our produce to wholesalers locally and inter provincially.
As the times have changed, so has our mind set. We see the importance in sustainable farming practices and apply them where we can. We often find new ways to be more efficient and by doing so we decrease our inputs and contribute our small part to preserving the ecosystem. By diversifying the crops that are grown on our many plots of land and through the rotation of crops that are grown, we reduce the opportunity for pests and disease to become present. We reduce the growth of weeds, conserve soil moisture and maintain organic matter health through the use of cover crops. These are just a few small changes we have made to make a considerable difference for our family, our farm and our planet.
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