Wendy Banks is a proud, sixth generation farmer. “I have always held a strong interest in agriculture and a number of years ago, after talking with some local producers, I felt the need to help connect farmers and consumers in a healthier food system. Wendy’s Country Market aims to fill the gap.”
Wendy’s Country Market is located between Morton and Lyndhurst, in a 19th century heritage schoolhouse on her parents’ farm. Wendy’s carries an ever-expanding list of their own vegetables, and food from over 70 local producers. The Market is open year-round. Across the road from the Market is Wendy’s latest venture, Furnace Falls Farm – a charming venue and catering facility, offering space for country gatherings and farm school opportunities.
Wendy’s business is renowned in eastern Ontario, pushing the boundaries of local food…a destination for regional and local foodies, and an inspiration to other small businesses. Wendy herself has a passion for local food and loves to share her knowledge with others, whether it’s speaking at a conference in front of hundreds or extolling the virtues of ‘living simply so that others may simply live’.
She notes that gradually, more and more people are discovering the natural beauty of Rideau Lakes and the charm of the rural lifestyle. “Rideau Lakes is a special kind of place,” she states. “We’re an area where you can come for a day, a weekend, a week…and experience our waterways, our trails, our space.”
While tourists and visitors have always been important to her business, increasingly local residents are discovering the joys of shopping local. “This is what really makes small rural businesses sustainable,” she added.
“When you look at what’s important, I think that we – as businesses – need to support each other, and work together in our community.”