TJ Perrott is a grain farmer in rural Alberta who took up farming after her Dad passed away and her mother quit her job of 21 years at the bank and decided to become a grain farmer. TJ began renting her own land at 18 years old and has a diploma in crop technology.
When TJ finished school, she soon realized how fierce competition was for land and decided to diversify by starting a strawberry U-Pick that she ran for 13 years. The size of the operation varied from 2000-10000 mother plants. Everything for the strawberry U-Pick was done organically and by hand. Unfortunately, in spring 2018, an infestation of cyclamen mites wiped out the crop and she decided that it was a good time to make an exit from the strawberry business.
These days, TJ is experimenting with small batch artisan ice cream. Being part of The Gathering Place Co-op will allow her to access a commercial kitchen to produce the ice cream, as well as, utilize the marketing power that comes from being part of the food hub. TJ hopes to use many locally-available flavours, such as rhubarb, to offer a localized and unique approach to ice cream.
In 2019, she completed the Prairie Horticulture Certificate program through the University of Saskatchewan specializing in greenhouse crop production as it is her dream to one day have her own greenhouse.
“The Gathering Place Co-op will give me the opportunity to be creative within a supportive network of like-minded individuals. I believe that collectively, we have a lot to offer with varying products and skill sets that will create a unique dynamic within this community. The facility will breathe new life into our rural area and that this model will be an inspiration to others who have the motivation to work together towards a common goal.”