Leffers Farm is owned and operated by the Leffers brothers, Howard and Cornelius. The 400 acre farm was their parents, however in 1990, with their father’s support Howard got his start on the farm with Cornelius joining him a few years later. By 2005, the Leffers brothers had converted the farm to organic and Community Natural Foods have been receiving high quality produce from them ever since.
Leffers Farm is located north of Coaldale and 10–15 km northeast of Lethbridge. Acre by acre the farm has been converted to organic. The Leffers started down the organic road in 2002 and had their first organic field in 2005. If the brothers had decided to do the whole farm at once it would have taken years, instead, they’ve chosen to do it in stages. At this point, all the vegetables they grow are certified organic which includes the carrots that Community Natural Foods carries. And if you've ever had a Leffer's carrot, you know how great they are. Many of us can't wait for September when these sweet treats come through our doors.
The Leffers have learned about organics as they go. When they moved over to organics a number of methods didn’t work. Coupled with the considerable knowledge that has been lost over the years they are sometimes farming by trial and error. When help is needed Howard and Cornelius call upon their parents who have been invaluable in supporting them with many issues from soil preparation strategies to business ethics. One of the pieces of knowledge that is difficult to find is weed control. Howard said, “keeping weeds under control is an art and in many cases it’s an old art.” They do blend the old with new technology, better equipment and electronics in their operation.
The choice was made to grow a select number of crops and do it well. In addition to carrots, other crops on the farm include: winter cereals, alfalfa, edible beans and certified organic red and gold beets. There is a small, certified organic black currant patch they harvest too!
Leffers Farm is a small, tightly-run operation that both Howard and Cornelius are actively involved in. The Leffers brothers rely on excellent, local help for weeding, some packing and delivery to market. Come harvest season from August to early October there is a one day turnaround to get the produce to the retailer. After the crops are brought in at the end of the season they’re stored in a refrigerated, humidified, cold storage facility down the road from the farm.