“Fresh air, gratifying work and peace and quiet.” These are Brian Lehodey’s favourite aspects of his life and work at Clearwater Ridge, a farm thirty minutes south east of Calgary.
About ten years ago Brian Lehodey decided he wanted to leave the city, the sounds and sirens, and the busyness to enjoy the vastness of the prairies and his own pace of life. He and his partner Mike Williams found themselves on five acres of land called Clearwater Ridge, which Brian describes as “a small, highly productive, rotation-based farm with beautiful trees and singing birds. Very quaint, private and just a beautiful place.”
Four days a week, Brian wakes up at 4:30 a.m., so he can be in the garden harvesting by 5 a.m. After that, he and the team spend the morning washing, packing and delivering the freshly harvested produce directly to customers — including Sunterra Market where you may place a Clearwater Ridge head of lettuce, kale, sweet corn, beans or beets into your shopping cart that very same day. Brian has been delivering fresh produce to our Calgary markets since 2017, and we are thrilled to now bring it to our Edmonton customers as well.
Over the years of partnering, we are fortunate to have learned a lot from Brian about his work. For Brian, quality over quantity is integral to the product he delivers, meaning he only harvests a single head of lettuce or kale when it meets the standard for picking. The rows of vegetables he grows are not harvested all at once. Instead, they are each evaluated individually and hand chosen to be dug from the soil and delivered to our markets each week when he deems them worthy. The vegetables are watered with rainwater and well water – of which Clearwater Ridge gets its name – with no fertilizers or sprays, but compost used for added nutrients. Brian updates our produce team weekly with the quantity he’ll be able to deliver to our markets – a lesson in patience, allowing mother nature to decide how much produce will be available on our market shelves.
A patient philosophy is one Brian appreciates from his customers, and one that we too at Sunterra Market appreciate of our own customers. “This is all up to nature, and something that has to be understood by all of us is that we can’t have everything we want exactly when we want it. At Clearwater, we do not use any pesticides or fertilizer. This is natural nutrition, straight from the soil and nature decides when it’s ready.”
The vegetables are grown in rotating rows, meaning after one row is harvested the ground is seeded again and given time to grow. If nature allows for it, while that row grows to maturity, another row can be harvested if it’s ready. The cycle continues all season long. If the weather goes awry, or growing conditions are affected that means we wait. Once the plants are able to produce again, Brian lets us know and a fresh crop of Clearwater Ridge vegetables are delivered.
So, the next time you pick up a Clearwater Ridge vegetable, we encourage you to take a moment to pause and take in its beauty and appreciate its journey. That morning it just may have been harvested from the Clearwater soil and then delivered to the very spot you find it. And if you don’t see any in our markets on your next visit? Know that Mother Nature will deliver soon.
Shop Clearwater Ridge produce at our markets or order online for free curbside pickup or $8 delivery here!