Noel Simpson

Noel Simpson

Noel Simpson is a journeyman chef with his Red Seal. He manages restaurants and has his own restaurant catering business.

Noel sees the biggest positive of the Co-op as being that it will provide the freshest ingredients as well as food traceability. “When you come to the Co-op, you will have an entire grocery store that is local. You’ll be able to see where your product is coming from. Typically, we are used to having produce come in from the U.S., by the time it’s picked, put into the warehouse, and shipped up to Canada, it’s already got a seven-day lag time. So, when you lose those seven days, as opposed to something that’s fresh, you’re definitely expanding its shelf-life and quality. Not only that, we’re talking to the producers and they’re telling us what they’re putting into their soil and what they’re putting onto their product. So, I can relay to the customer that this product was produced locally, it’s organic, this is how they’ve treated it, this is how it was harvested, and so on. It’s local. The producers are our friends – we see them in the coffee shops, we see them in the store. They have been my customers for years, so we already have that connection, and we tend to buy from people that we’re comfortable with. We know them. When you know who you’re buying from, that inspires a lot more confidence when you’re purchasing.”

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Mandy Melnyk

Meet more about Mandy.

Mandy Melnyk is a board member and producer.

In 2011, Mandy made the decision to make a living on the land. She began growing organic vegetables like onions, garlic and beets, and raising chickens and turkeys outside. She believes that when it comes to raising animals, there is no healthier animal than an animal that is free and able to garnish the natural nutrients from the grasses around us. She believes in regenerative and holistic farming practices such as not just feeding the plant, but feeding the soil so that it will be able to produce for future generations.

“In July of 2018, when we decided that we needed to start getting some actual collective marketing power in the North – not only to distribute our products, but to create. To create some of the best pies and pierogies that Weasel Creek ever saw. It’s a bit of a work-in-progress as we learn how to put together our individual farms and talents. It’s like putting together a puzzle – every person that joins the Co-op may be a farmer, they may be a chef, but they all fit because they have a passion and a love for our rural communities.

The essence of our Co-op is not just about a place to come and eat, it’s about understanding that there’s a respect for the land and that the goods are being produced in and around our area. It’s a respect both ways – producers/caretakers and consumers.

As member-producers, together, we’ll be able to learn from each other to enhance ourselves as individual producers but also as a collective co-op.

It’s important for people to know that they can grow food in our rural communities and what our hope for the Co-op is that we can collectively market that for them so that small people who want to make an income off of the soil that exists in our communities can do so without thinking that they have to be really big. There is a place for small production in our rural economies and we want to help people harness that.”

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