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Eight generations and still growing
Dwayne Barteaux has a bad habit.
He likes to plant things and he likes to grow them. Each year, his habit gets worse as he grows more and more -tree fruit and a few vegetables, that is.
"My family and I take great pride in knowing that as farmers, we are blessed to be able to produce world-class and high-quality fruit that contributes to a healthy lifestyle for the modern consumer,” says Dwayne.
And that’s why every year he expands Barteaux Farms, located in Moschelle, NS, a little more.
“We’ve been farming this land in Annapolis County for eight generations,” Dwayne adds, “a generational legacy that I take great pride in.” Dwayne manages the operation, working alongside his father, Robert (Class of ’62), their 13 employees and setting the groundwork for his son Jordan and nephew, Jonah.
Barteaux Farms grows tree fruit using the trellis system. Using this method, they are able to produce a lot more fruit per acre of land. The trees and rows can be much closer together, resulting in a higher production per area. Their product is harvested to be sold at the Annapolis Farmers Market and to Scotian Gold.
The Barteaux’s are proud of their success and rightfully so.
“We’ve been able to take a small farm, in the Western end of the valley and grow top quality products that are accepted to the Scotian Gold chain,” says Dwayne. “Scotian Gold only takes the best products and the fact that they have accepted us into their organization – we couldn’t be any prouder.”
He adds that seeing your product in a chain grocery store, or having a customer come directly to the market looking for your product is equally as satisfying. “You could be having a really bad day, but then someone compliments you on your product, or you see it in the store – that really picks you up. It makes it all worthwhile.”
Each year, an additional 5,000 trees are planted, expanding their operation and yield. “We try to re-new about five-10 percent of the farm, every year and do a small expansion.”
In 2020, that expansion was a little bigger than normal. Barteaux Farms, in partnership with another grower, purchased a plot of land 40 minutes away, near Berwick, NS, adding 15,000 new trees. This year, Dwayne plans to add another 25 – 30,000 trees.
For Dwayne, farming in Atlantic Canada has its advantages, “here, we can operate on a smaller scale and still be profitable,” he says. Not to mention, the Atlantic climate is less harsh than other regions, adding another benefit.
But it also has its challenges.
“The sheer distance from our Atlantic farm locations to major commercial markets can be a transportation challenge and for farmers like me, it is difficult to successfully manage a u-pick operation or an independent farm market in rural counties where consumer foot-traffic is low due to low-density population growth,” says Dwayne.
Dwayne is a strong believer that to be successful in farming, you can’t sit still. “We can’t accept the status-quo,” he says, “we need to constantly grow our businesses and expand on what we are doing. We need to seek out and exploit new technologies, new markets and of course, new and even more exciting varieties of fruit to grow.”
For young people considering a career in agriculture, such as his son, Jordan, who is in his first year at the Agricultural Campus, Dwayne stresses the level of commitment required to farm.
“This is hard word. It’s physically challenging, technically challenging and emotionally challenging. A formal education is key, and you need to be passionate about what you are doing.”
And Dwayne has the passion and drive - as long as can get labour to help harvest his crops, he has no intention of slowing down. Or certainly, quitting this habit of his.
“We’re going to keep going. There is no limit.”