Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Market gardeners from Delhi chosen as Ontario’s OYF

October 6, 2022  By Fruit & Vegetable

David and Jennifer VanDeVelde, farmers and owners of Wholesome Pickins Market and Bakery in Delhi, were named Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2022. The winners were announced at the regional event held on Sept. 12 and 13 in conjunction with Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, Ont.

Both University of Guelph graduates, the couple returned to David’s family tobacco farm in 2006. They chose to use their education in horticulture to take the farm in a different direction and began growing strawberries in 2005; in 2007, they added ever-bearing strawberries to the fields.

With the help of the rich, sandy soil of Norfolk County, Wholesome Pickins produces over 200 acres of crops, including strawberries, asparagus, raspberries, pumpkins, rhubarb, tobacco and a variety of field and cover crops. The operation continues to expand the retail farm market and from-scratch bakery each season, adding delicious goods created with local ingredients. Everything sold at Wholesome Pickins is fresh from the VanDevelde farm or brought in from a neighbouring operation, as the couple works within a hyper-local version of the 100-mile diet.


Looking forward, David and Jennifer intend to keep community at the forefront, with a focus on innovation and collaboration in agriculture.

The Ontario Regional event was well attended by alumni. The region was honoured to have Danny Penner, vice-president of the national OYF board, in attendance. “The Ontario event was held at the largest farm show in Eastern Canada. With that being the backdrop, the nominees did not disappoint,” Penner said. “They were dynamic, energetic and excited to be there. David and Jennifer VanDeVelde will be fantastic representatives for Ontario at the national event later this fall.”

Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to individuals 18 to 39 years old who make the majority of their income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, CIBC, CN, John Deere, Bayer, Sollio Agriculture, Glacier FarmMedia and WS. It is supported nationally by BDO.

Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2022 will be chosen at the national event in Saskatoon in late November.

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