This is the title of The Toronto Star article that hit the news stands today in the entertainment section...
Specialty-vegetable farmer David Cohlmeyer has put his much-loved Cookstown Greens up for sale.
The arcticle is written by Jennifer Bain, Food Editor for the Toronto Star Newspaper and includes information about the business and quotes from others in relation to the property located North of Alliston and Cookstown. Your local Alliston Realtors Laurie and Scott Mortimer, broker and sales representative respectively have the property listed for sale.
Here is a sample of how it reads, or you can view the article in it's entirety at The Toronto Star in th Entertainment section.
He's asking $1.2 million for the 38-hectares (95-acre) farm north of Toronto and his iconic business that supplies micro salad greens and exotic varieties of vegetables to restaurants and foodies.
“You're not going to get rich but you'll have a wonderful life doing good things for our local area and region,” says Cohlmeyer, “and you'll have a pretty secure investment because most of it is land.”
Cohlmeyer is 65 and wants to “retire” so he can do other things, like promote local food at the political level, write a book, reignite his passions for photography and playing cello, and spend more time with his grown daughters.
He says selling now will also allow him to settle an ongoing dispute with a financial partner who expected higher returns.
The price for the 22-year-old business includes 38 hectares of land, buildings (including greenhouses and living quarters), farm equipment, an irrigation system and the respected business name.
It has eight full-time staff and four seasonal ones. Cohlmeyer says he will even stay on as a consultant if needed.
“It's a lot of money, but it's a bargain, actually,” says longtime customer Martin Kouprie, executive chef and co-owner of Pangaea restaurant in Toronto.
“David was one of the first chefs to start the chef-to-farm-to-table movement. Nothing would please me more than to see the name (Cookstown Greens) continue and have it prosper — it's an icon in Canadian farming.”
Kouprie says he has given serious consideration to buying the business, but hasn't been able to sell the idea to investors.
“It's a tough sell,” agrees Arlene Stein, program director at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto.
“A lot of people who have money and are invested in the local food movement still don't know if they want to be invested in agriculture.”
Just as Kouprie says you can't beat the freshness and flavour of Cookstown Greens products, Stein credits Cohlmeyer with helping popularize the Saturday farmers' market at the Brick Works when it launched in 2007.
“You actually had to be down by 9:30 a.m. or 10 to buy one of his bags of microgreens,” she says.
“Everybody came down clamouring for it.'
Cookstown Greens has built a loyal following with its baby salad greens, seedlings, edible flowers, fancy garnishes like red shisho and sorrel, and unusual vegetables in a rainbow of colours.
Carrots, for example, come in Japanese Red, Afghan Purple, Bulgarian Black, Croatian Yellow, Belgian White and French Orange Nantes. Summer brings wild morels, fiddleheads, green garlic, wild leeks, white asparagus and lovage.
Cohlmeyer sells about 80 per cent of what he grows to about 60 Ontario restaurants.
The rest of his produce goes to a handful of upscale retailers (Harvest Wagon, Pusateri's, the Healthy Butcher and Summerhill Market) and the Evergreen Brick Works Farmers' Market.
“We have become a Toronto icon and so the name (Cookstown Greens) is worth something — particularly if you continue marketing it to the local restaurants, retailers and people at farmers' markets,” says Cohlmeyer.
He suggests a hotel could buy his business and promote its “own farm” on its menus. Or else a chef's school could have a demonstration farm. Another farm could link with Cookstown Greens to enter the high-end market. There's room at the farm for an inn, retail store or restaurant.
Cohlmeyer sent out news of the sale Monday in an email newsletter.
“Some people hear that you're for sale and get all panicky and think you're going out of business,” he says.
“But it's all positive. I'm just doing our year-end now and we're probably having our best year ever.
“I think we do better than most farms but I don't want to oversell it.”