Photo: White Pines Artisan Market
BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — Young entrepreneurs Ben Gott and Ryan Mueller have successfully launched a small retail business in Rock Mills this summer. Lifelong friends, Ben and Ryan put their heads together back in mid-July to test the viability of their White Pines Artisan Market, a farmgate business at the edge of Ben's family farm on Grey Road 4 just west of Maxwell. Their recipe for success has included a combination of healthy foods and artisan crafts, mixed with a little enthusiasm and a pinch of creativity.
Consisting of a couple of simple out-buildings and roadside placards, the County Road location attracted many visitors each weekend to grab a tasty taco, some no-sugar-added, gluten and lactose-free goodies or a locally-made craft or two.
Although the expression of their labour has only recently shown itself to the public, this summer's vocational experiment has been cooking on the property for quite a while now. Cultivated for the last three to four years, fruit and produce grown on the farm has been bountiful enough for this season's transformation into the many delicious products on offer. Healthy choices like kale, sprouts, zucchini and mushrooms fill the menu options on the weekly updated chalkboard outside Ryan's taco stand. Jams, brownies and energy balls wait for hungry visitors inside the main building.
Ryan Mueller serves some mouthwatering tacos from his stand at the White Pines Artisan Market. Photo: White Pines Artisan Market
"We are delighted that the last six weeks have given us the information we needed to pursue our dream of bringinglocal residents and tourists a unique and delicious food experience and access to local artisan creations all year long," said Gott, who outlined his plans to erect a year-round market and seasonal taco stand in the spring of 2020.
With a few obstacles in the way, such as rezoning the property to allow for a bigger commercial operation, the acquisition of permits and the fast-approaching winter, the zealous pair seem undeterred and eager to get their dream off the ground.
To celebrate the season, buoyed by the success of their market, Ben and Ryan are ending their project with a party to thank their customers and elicit feedback that will guide them on the next step of their journey. The party will happen on Sunday, September 15 from 3 to 6 pm. Free samples, snacks, prizes and music will entertain customers under a tent opposite the market at 406313 Grey Road 4 in Glen Mills.
An entrance fee of $5 will be collected and donated to the Hanley Institute in support of community youth. The Institute is a mental health facility located in Flesherton which provides skills development, counselling and other services to those who struggle with anxiety, addiction and other mental health issues.
Everyone is welcome to attend but if the summer has provided any warning, the tacos won't last long!
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