Vermeulen Farms Ltd. is located in Canning, Nova Scotia. Started in 1986 by Andy Vermeulen, the farm has grown to 450 acres of vegetable and fruit crops. Andy now farms with his son Ben, and team of over 60 employees.
Andy grew up on a dairy farm and knew he wanted to farm but his focus was on farm to plate. Growing asparagus, celery, salad vegetables, melons, squash, strawberries, and cover crops, the Vermeulen’s pack a lot into a growing season!
Andy studied at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (now Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture) and has been farming since graduation. Ben studied at Acadia University and has been farming alongside Andy since 2010. Andy and Ben have worked together and worked through succession planning for the farm. The Vermeulen’s know it’s important for the next generation to have good comprehension of the farm financials right from the start and to understand how decisions and choices impact the bottom line. Andy says, “Succession isn’t about retiring as much as it is about engaging and preparing the next generation or successor.”
Learning and trying new technology and ways of doing things is important to the Vermeulen’s. Growing strawberries in gutters is something Ben and Andy were the first to trial in Nova Scotia and now they grow 15 acres of strawberries this way.
It is also important that farming is treated as a business. The Vermeulen’s have set a vision and mission for their farm. They set goals and are quick to know their numbers. It’s very much a way of life for them but it’s also about building a business and producing high quality food.