Taking over farm has been challenging and enjoyable for new owner

Diane Crocker dcrocker@thewesternstar.com
Published on July 21, 2014
Catherine Verge of Corner Brook dropped by Wright’s Family Farm in Pasadena on Saturday to pick some strawberries. The former Lomond Farms location is now under new ownership.
Diane Crocker

The first time Andy Wright sat on a tractor at his new farm in Pasadena his teenage years just popped back.

“And I remembered how my uncle taught me how to work a field,” he said.

Wright and his wife Sharon are in the process of buying the Lomond Farms location in Pasadena. The deal should close early to mid-August and after that Wright said “it will be entirely ours.”

The Wrights are operating the farm under the name Wright’s Family Farm.

The couple both come from Ontario farm families and have degrees in agriculture with specialization in livestock, cattle in particular, from the University of Guelph.

Wright worked in the livestock end of the agriculture field for some time after graduation.

“Then I took a little change in career paths for a while,” he said.

It’s that career change that brought him to Pasadena 10 years ago as a United Church minister.

For the past two and half years though he worked for the provincial government in agrifoods.

Wright and his family — which includes daughters Emily, 20, and Jennifer, 18 — started working the farm around May 1 and are now in the midst of the strawberry season.

Wright said he and his wife are familiar with farm business management and operating equipment, it’s just the horticulture side of things that’s new to them.

“It’s been a pretty steep learning curve,” he said, but added he’s gotten great help from the farm’s former owners and other producers that he’s met.

A positive about the 30-acre farm is that it’s well established and all planted out.

“So the berries we’re harvesting this year were here already,” he said.

Besides the strawberries there’s raspberries, blueberries, apples, plums, partridgeberries and sea buckthorn. And there’ll soon be a variety of vegetables ready at the u-pick, too.

All those crops can be challenging though.

“I’m learning eight, or 10, or a dozen or more different products. Trying to learn how to grow them all,” said Wright.

But armed with the most important tools of the trade — a notebook and pen— he’s getting it all down pat. Everything that’s done each day goes in the book, right down to the amount of fertilizer he puts on each crop.

“It’s my calendar, so it’s my timeline, but I know amounts and when I did it,” Wright said.

The record keeping will help him determine what works and what doesn’t and to cost out the operation.

Despite all there is to learn Wright is enjoying the experience.

“I have a hard time going home,” he said with a laugh. “I like it out here so much.”

Wright said the ‘family’ in the farm’s name applies not only to his family but all families and he wants to develop it into a place that families want to go.

“I love having people on the farm. Hearing the kids laugh and the adults laugh,” he said.