About Zócalo

What we do.

We grow organic produce for household consumers, chefs and restaurateurs, and wholesalers.

Our main offerings are Seasonal Salad Blends, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, and other organic vegetables.

We sell our vegetables to households through a Community Shared Agriculture Program (CSA). Our vegetable boxes include carrots, garlic, onions, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, our signature salad greens, squash, and more!

We invite you to join our CSA and sign up for a season of delicious and healthy eating!

 

 

Why we do it.

Taste. Stewardship. Connection.

We grow because we love the taste of what we grow. Our food has amazing flavour and nutrition because our soils are alive and thriving.

Our work as organic farmers is one way we can steward our resources and take care of our planet. Though we are a small farm, we work to influence climate change, soil erosion, and water conservation on a daily basis.

And we love being an access point for people in our local community, helping them create and maintain a meaningful connection to their food and to the land. Whether we are showing you around our farm, or exchanging delicious recipes with you, we look forward to connecting with you soon!

Our Story.

We, Sebastian Ramirez and Bethany Klapwyk, run Zócalo Organics.

We got into farming because of our passion for the environment and our love for the outdoors. We did not come from a farming background, which means we’ve been learning as quickly as possible from as many mentors as possible. We have spent the last 6 years learning and working with other ecological farmers, and studying Sustainable Agriculture at Fleming College.

In June 2014, with the help of friends and family, we were able to purchase a farm, which we named Zócalo Organics. Before us, this farm was called Deerfields Nursery, a successful Organic Farm business run by John Sutherland. John had a vision of land stewardship that led him to plant many trees on the property and care for the land organically for 25 years. We are honoured to carry on his legacy. In his retirement John has continued to be a mentor for us as we learn and work on the property.

We are committed to growing delicious Organic produce for years to come. In the short-term our focus is to produce high-quality organic vegetables. Our long-term vision includes pasture-raised livestock and various types of perennial fruits.

Our Approach.

We provide our customers with exceptional quality, nutrient dense, fresh, organic produce.

We are committed to maintaining the land for future generations; therein we do not use any synthetic chemicals, artificial fertilizers or GMOs. We promise to be transparent and communicative about our farming methods, inputs, and operations. We invite questions, concerns, and celebration regarding the culture we are creating towards a strong, just, resilient, and delicious food system.

For our first 3 years of business we were Certified Organic through Pro-Cert.  In early 2017, after consulting with all of our clients, we decided to stop being certified.  Read our blog to learn more about this decision.  Our commitments to ecological farming methods remain the same.

Our Farm

Zócalo Organics is an 83-acre property between Guelph and Hillsburgh. The farm is a combination of greenhouses, gardens, hayfields, cedar forests, conservation wetland, a small orchard, and more!

The property has been farmed organically since the early ’90s by John Sutherland of Deerfields Nursery.  John made an incredible contribution to the tree cover of the property by planting hundreds of trees.

Twenty-three acres of wetland run like a ribbon through the centre of the farm and are an important part of the Grand River watershed. The Grand River Watershed has lost over 65% of its wetlands in the last 200 years to farming and development.  Wetlands moderate water flow, reduce flooding, and hold water during drought. They also improve water quality because of their ability to trap sediment and soil-bound contaminants.  Our wetland is part of a conversation program and will remain untouched.

We limit our use of heavy equipment on the farm and mainly accomplish our gardening tasks with a small Italian-built walk-behind tractor designed for market gardening.  We use permaculture techniques, soil testing, mulches, and hand tools to grow great food.

Land Acknowledgment.

Our farm is on the ancestral land of the Attawandaron Peoples. The colonial processes by which we came to live on this land were and are deeply unjust, and have caused and continue to cause great harm to the original people of this land. At our farm, in our work and celebrations, we strive to be accountable for this. Feedback and suggestions are welcome.

Sketch by our friend Carelynn.