See photos of the farm HERE.

The Farmers

It was a serendipitous meeting during the first week of classes at Concordia University in Montreal that lead us down the path to where we are today. Our friendship was forged over a mutual passion for the outdoors, adventure, all things that grow, and cooking. We told stories and studied while making flavorful and healthy meals with the contents of Zach’s CSA basket from our friends at Le Jardin de la Montagne in Rougemont, Quebec. Zach is from the arid desert climate of Northern New Mexico where he spent summers xeriscaping (landscaping using water conservation methods) and hiking the mountains and foothills surrounding his hometown of Santa Fe. I grew up in the lush Ottawa Valley gardening and swimming in the many lakes and rivers of Renfrew County.

Kylah Dobson & Zach Loeks at Market

Kylah Dobson & Zach Loeks at Market

In the spring of 2006 a professor offered us the chance to participate in ecological forestry research in the depths of northern Quebec boreal forest. We welcomed a break from the vibrant bustle of the city for this unique opportunity. The bugs were bigger and more abundant than either of our native territories, but the scenery serene, and the work intellectually stimulating. When the opportunity arose to continue this research the following season we turned it down for an even bigger challenge – starting our own business.

So in the winter of 2006 – 2007 we began writing what turned out to be two successful grant applications to help us turn an idea and a passion for growing (and eating!) into our very own reality. Even though Zach had experience on farms in the southern US and I was raised gardening, had worked at my uncle’s greenhouse and market garden, and had volunteered on farms in central America there was still a lot more to learn. We seized every opportunity to attend agricultural workshops and conferences, delved deep into the depths of farming manuals and books, and talked all of our fellow farming friends’ ears off to further our knowledge and understanding of the art of growing those magical things we calls fruits and vegetables.

For weeks we furiously planned what we would grow and how, reveling in choosing crop varieties and planning our marketing strategy. And so in the spring of 2007 we began working the land that has been farmed by my family for six generations. After a successful first season we knew that after graduation in the spring of 2008 we would have to leave our city life behind for a rural existence that would allow us to make our living from the land and allow us to feed ourselves, our souls, and our community.

We look forward to another season of hard work and good eatin’.

Kylah Dobson & Zach Loeks

The Farm

The Dobson family began farming in the scenic Ottawa Valley in the 1830’s. The current farm location, in the Upper Ottawa Valley was established by Kylah’s great-great-great grandfather in 1857. Cattle have grazed this land continuously since then. We hope that many more generations of our family will continue to farm and steward this land. We believe that it is only through continuing efforts to be good stewards of the land that our farm and our way of life will be sustainable well into the future. On our farm we believe that our well being is directly related to the environmental health of the farm.
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Naming the RHG

During our first year we quickly became fascinated with the history and lore behind the many different varieties of heirloom fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers we chose to grow. These ‘heirlooms’ come in so many different shapes, sizes, and colours we knew the word rainbow should be included in our name. We decided heritage should also be used to not only reflect the history of the produce but also the land on which it is grown. And so the name The Rainbow Heritage Garden was christened upon our project.