The journey from Jamaica to a family farm in New Brunswick via Toronto

The Ferrons of New Brunswick

Karen Ferron came to Canada at the age of 10 from Jamaica. In 2002, she met her husband Al, who came from Jamaica in 1998. At the time she worked as a fundraiser while Al, a tradesman, worked for the TTC.

It was Al’s love of fresh food and farming, which he learned from his grandmother in Jamaica, that led to them buying a farm in New Brunswick and moving their family there in 2021. The farm is located in Long Settlement, N.B. not far from the U.S. border.

Karen explained that nothing in her working past was a predictor for taking up the life of a farmer. She said that it was Al, a lover of natural foods, cooking and his regular visits to farms, with her in tow, in search of fresh produce that paved the way to where she is now. She said that “…he introduced me to the markets and cooking with ethnic spices, and produce from the Islands. He would take me to the farms to buy fresh produce in the summer, and the Amish farms to buy our goat meat and chickens. Food never tasted so good other than when I would visit Jamaica.”

Feeding the goats

She also said that her preparation can also be traced to the fact that Al planted a garden in all the homes they lived in Toronto. So when the time came, it was an easy decision to pull up roots from bustling, diverse Toronto, and plant them in an almost completely White area in Long Settlement, New Brunswick.

Ferron Family Farms LTD is spread over 137 acres, and raises grass-fed meats like goat, beef and pork.

Coming from the city, it’s a steep learning curve and she is yet to learn most of the things that generation farmers know. The Ferrons learned a lot from research and gathering information from the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture. However, even the ministry’s resources lacked much in terms of information pertaining to farming goats, a relatively new idea in N.B. agriculture.

In the meantime, she will be tapping into the accumulated knowledge of veteran farmers to guide the Ferron family establishment in its infancy.

It’s tough she says, but they are prepared to soldier on and take on the challenges that all newbie farmers must face.