Growers adapt in big ways

September 2020

When one door is closed, another one always opens.

This seems to be the perfect adage for Jodi and Kevin Belluz of Belluz Farms since the Covid pandemic hit in early spring.

Concerned that they wouldn’t be able to continue running their business the usual way, the Belluz’s turned to a farmers’ cooperative initiative they had started years ago. Superior Seasons Farmers’ Market was an online store where people could purchase various home-grown products directly from the farmers. What once sold produce from four farmers grew and now products from 39 local producers and over 60 regional and Ontario based producers can be purchased from the site. Belluz says they can receive as many as 500 orders a week and have had to hire more staff to keep up with the demand.

“As farmers, we want to promote a sense of food security to our community, and as business people we want to ensure we can keep everyone safe during this pandemic,” Jodi states.

For those who visited Belluz Farms to pick your own berries and produce, you’re familiar with the changes that have taken place to comply with the new Covid regulations. Mandatory face masks, social distancing by placing customers in every other garden row, and the closure of the café and the opening of a mini outside farm store are the new norm, but, as Jodi points out, it is something that makes their customers feel safe and encourages them to return.

And there is a feeling of gratitude from the public with the provision of Superior Seasons non contact home delivery and pick up, and the fact that they can still enjoy picking their own produce at Belluz Farms.

Jodi is grateful for all of the support they’ve received from the government and the Health Unit. The Ministry of Agriculture, Ontario Berry Growers, Ontario Fruit and Vegetables Growers’ and the Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Associations have provided advice and financial support to keep their workers safe by supplying masks, hand sanitizers etc., and the Health Unit has gone the extra mile in visiting their business and reassuring them that they are following procedures to a T.

As for more changes coming this fall, Jodi admits they have to keep at least 4 or 5 different scenarios in mind when planning their pumpkin and squash harvest as it will depend on what the government regulations are at that time. “The pumpkins and winter squash and gourds are all growing really well so we’ll have them available somehow,” she assures us.

In passing on advice to other businesses, Jodi believes owners shouldn’t be afraid of reaching out to other businesses for help. “We’re stronger together and we now have to think outside the box. Our communities support us, and that is always reassuring.”

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Donna White is an accomplished author and Jubilee Medal winner for her volunteer work with World Vision. Visit her website at

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