Mike and Ken Nootebos
Mary’s Garden was started in 1966 in a little vegetable stand at the farm of Jack and Mary Nootebos. Over the years, Mary’s Garden has grown several times and now is located in it’s biggest barn yet. Two of Mary’s four sons, Ken and Mike, now run the business but Jack still works every day on the farm to help everyone out. Mary has retired but still enjoys coming down to the farm to pick flowers and see the business that she began, so many years ago. Mary likes to visit her old customers but she has worked hard for many years so we let her visit and not work. You can’t keep Jack away, he just enjoys the dirt. The main stay of the farm has always been direct sales to the public.
“We moved into our new larger store four years ago and it is only about ¼ mile down the street from our original location. It is the deep rich soil that has kept us in the Cloverdale area. The soil is excellent for growing vegetables, probably some of the best soils in the world for food production. We are currently farming about 25 acres, which is intensely farmed.”
We have always been known for our super sweet carrots and corn. We pride ourselves on fresh picked not daily, but hourly, as needed for the store. The other produce that is very important to us is our nugget potatoes, and fresh lettuce. Our thing is we don’t want to use any pesticide if we don’t have to. We closely monitor our crops and we use minimal pesticides. The other highlight is our wide variety of crops we grow. I think we are the most diverse vegetable farm in the lower mainland. We grow over fifty different crops from vegetables, to herbs to flowers and specialty little potatoes.
Our specialty is freshness. Our lettuce never goes into a box, it comes straight from the field to the market. We constantly are picking, washing and putting it on the shelves. The other thing is our sweet little carrots. We grow carrots that taste like you remember they should. This year we are going to grow the little yellow fingerling potatoes. They are small, and tasty. They are awesome pan fried with a little butter and then served with fresh dill and butter or cream. I can’t wait.
“We get a-lot of positive feed back from our customers and that is nice. Our customers are happy and our products are a “Hot Commodity”. When we mark our products as our own, or grown here on the farm, they fly out the door. Our customers know they can trust us. “