The J. Collins & Sons farm, near Troy, Ontario, clearly has excellent growing conditions.
Not just for the vegetables—but for the people whose positive energy and hard work have made the business a success.
Farm owner Joan Beck, a fifth-generation farmer, worked in Toronto as a dietician for 10 years, but eventually returned to her rural roots. “It’s the rural life that I’m used to. I had a very nice childhood with lots of fresh air and space,” Joan says. “If you like to be outdoors, it’s an ideal life.”
As for farm manager Harpreet Cheema, he grew up in the Punjab region of India and moved to Canada at 19 with his parents, taking a part-time job at J. Collins & Sons in 1982. “I liked it so much,” remarks Harpreet, “I’ve been here my whole life.”
Agriculture is one of the main industries in the Punjab region, and finding farms to work on helps new Canadians who’ve immigrated from the Punjab—as well as many other places across the world—re-establish the sense of home and community they left behind.
Drawing on a large Punjabi community in Brampton, about an hour’s drive from the farm, J. Collins & Sons has developed a reputation, over the decades, as a place where “people come in happy and go home happy at the end of the day.”
The Homegrown Recipes collection includes more than 110 tantalizing kitchen creations—breakfasts, breads, soups, salads, sides, entrees and desserts—submitted by our neighbors near Enbridge’s network of pipelines and facilities.
Because just as land is passed down through the generations, so too are some of the most treasured recipes that connect us to family, friends and communities—including Joan’s lentil soup with sweet potato, included in our Homegrown Recipes collection.
The J. Collins & Sons farm grows bunched vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, parsley, cilantro and dill, that require plenty of hand labour. Produce from J. Collins & Sons finds its way to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) market, where customers include big players in the food industry and the Ontario Food Terminal.
“I love the people that we work with, as well as the energy and the willingness to do hard work,” says Joan. “It’s a good feeling.”
Adds Harpreet: “This is an old generation that loves to work on the farm.”
Check out previous instalments of the Homegrown Recipes cookbook profiles:
(Are your taste buds sufficiently stimulated? Click on this link to download or print your own copy of Enbridge’s Homegrown Recipes cookbook . . . and this link for Joan’s lentil soup with sweet potato.)