Using all natural farming methods, Van Den Dries applies the principles of regenerative agriculture on her farm. Her ultimate goal is to produce nutrient dense vegetables that improve not only the health of the people that eat them, but the health of the soil that they are grown in. She does this by balancing the minerals and increasing the microbial life in the soil, working with instead of against, a variety of native insects and pollinators. The farm’s name Bee Loved Gardens is a tribute to the crucial role that pollinators, especially Bees, play in the production of food.
The results of these practices are nutrient dense vegetables that have a higher level of minerals and a higher Brix Rate than those you would find in a traditional grocery store. The Brix Rate refers to the measure of sugars in produce. The higher the Brix Rate, the greater the flavour. The majority of Van Den Dries’ vegetable varieties are heirloom meaning that they come from older, more diverse varieties of vegetables often no longer available in grocery stores.
“There are lots of people who have never experienced home-grown vegetables,” said Van Den Dries. “They taste amazing and there is so much variety available.”
In 2014, Bee Loved Gardens started a CSA program where participants sign-up to receive a box of vegetables, flowers and herbs every week throughout the summer. Each customer is able to choose what they would like in their box based on seasonal availability. The program has become so popular that all CSA spots were quickly filled in 2015; however, those wishing to get a taste of Van Den Dries’ flavourful fare can purchase vegetables directly from the farm on Saturday mornings throughout the summer months. Bee Loved Farms will also soon be setting up a vegetable delivery route in the St. Thomas and Port Stanley areas.
Those who are interested in learning more about Bee Loved Gardens’ nutrient rich produce can sign up for their newsletter online or like the farm on Facebook.