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Whipawheel Farm Home Store – Farmgate Sales

Inside Whipawheel Farms Store!

Farm to Table Fresh Livestock, Vegetables, Eggs, Herbs and more



The day I went to visit Whipawheel Farm on St. Joseph Island, ON, it was a very cold, but sunny January morning. Upon entering their on-farm store, I was immediately greeted with a friendly face and warmth provided by the wood burning stove off to the side. The store is a bright, clean and modern building chock full of food products and wares, directly from Whipawheel farm and from other island and surrounding businesses.

“Farm to table fresh” is a proud statement from the owners of Whipawheel Farm Store, because it means that the food on your table came from their farm. No middle men, no mass distributors. Owners Andy Shurliffe and Lilian Rhodes have only been in business for a few years, but they have already built an excellent reputation and have loyal customers, because of their quality farm products.

They purchased the property in 2016, but Lilian immigrated to Canada and to St. Joseph Island in 1999 from England. She told me that her background in farming was growing up around a diary farm back in England. Andy grew up in Sault Ste. Marie and the Island Lake area. His parents were farmers and always had animals, like chickens, goats and rabbits. The couple decided their real passion was agriculture and farming, so they purchased the property of 84 acres on St. Joseph Island and set about amassing their livestock and cultivating a market garden. A major shed/garage fire in 2017 set them back a little with their plans, but they kept moving forward with their dreams. In May 2018, their new on-farm store building was open. While Lilian works on the farm full time, Andy has an off-farm job, but his goal is to work on the farm full time too. 

Today the farm raises and produces a large variety of livestock and market vegetables and herbs, including pork, beef, lamb, goat, rabbit, turkey and chicken both for eggs and meat. As well, they raise and sell eggs from quail and ducks. All of their meat products are processed at a licensed and inspected abattoir. The market garden grows a huge variety of vegetables and herbs. From tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and potatoes, to micro greens, and baby greens grown in coconut mats. Lilian told me their plans this year are to expand the herbs grown, along with edible flowers. Their 50-foot greenhouse is an ideal place to start the seeds early. They have also spent a lot of time getting the soil in optimum growing conditions in their massive garden.

They like to include products from area producers and artisans to compliment their own farm products. The store stocks St. Joseph Island coffee—they will even custom grind the beans for you. Honey from Raven Hill Farm in Desbarats and maple syrup from Mountain Maple Products. In addition, there are some beautiful handcrafted items like hand-woven baskets and knitted socks. There are even some wood crafted items that can be purchased finished or unfinished. Their unique puddingstone items come from Anipich Rocks.

I asked them where their customers come from and they proudly said: “Our customers come from as far away as Wawa and Bruce Mines. We have a big clientele from Sault Ste. Marie and the Goulais area. Of course, island residents and tourists, particularly American cottagers, are the mainstay for our everyday business. Being part of the St. Joseph Island Country Road Open House event really boosted our awareness with the community and literally put us on the map. Hunters will stop by during the season to pick up staples too.”

Plans for the future?  Lilian said they “want to continue providing fresh and healthy food—from the farm to the table.” They would like their farm to be a gathering place where customers, friends and family are welcome. It should be noted that their outhouse is actually a geocache destination, so that makes for interesting conversations when geocachers stop in! In the summer, there is always fresh water out for dogs to come and visit with their owners. On the business side, expansion of the garden, and extending the fencing where some of their animals can be placed near the front of the property for viewing by the public, are on the agenda. 

Customer service is a big priority for Lilian and Andy. On the days or hours, they are not open, they will tell you that if they are home, they are happy to open up for someone if they need something. They also offer coffee, tea and water to-go in the store. They are trying to be as eco-friendly as they can by offering paper or reusable shopping bags. They are also set up for debit or cash. 

Finally, I asked them where the unusual name of their farm store came from. Lilian explained that “the birds, whip-poor-wills, were a favourite of Andy’s dad and he used the word often in conversations. When he passed, we decided to use the bird name for our business, but change around the spelling, in memory of his dad.”  What a great way to offer tribute!

Hours of operation

Winter hours: Dec 1 to April 30 – Open Tues to Saturday, 1 PM – 6 PM
Closed Sunday and Monday
Summer hours: May 1 to Nov 30 – Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 AM – 6 PM
Closed on Mondays.

Contact information

Owners: Andy Shurtliffe and Lilian Rhodes
Phone: 705 971-5932
2292 V Line, Hwy 548
Richards Landing, St. Joseph Island, ON Canada.
Email: contact.wfhs@gmail.com
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