The gift of slow living on Boreal Farm
Christa De Benedetti envisioned her field of dreams years before it flowered in western Quebec.
"I’m basically actualizing my childhood dream at the moment where I get to do everything that I always wanted to do in this one location," said De Benedetti.
"It’s like a playground for grownups," she laughed.
Her playground came into her life during the pandemic. De Benedetti felt an urgent need to begin a new chapter.
"Last year, as the world shifted, I was thinking to myself, if not now, when?"
"I said I’m going to sell my house, which I did in three weeks, on Kijiji, and I’m going to look for my farm," she said.
The 45-year-old would find her farm in Low, Que. It wasn’t for sale, but it soon would be hers.
"The timing was perfect. It was just ready. The owners weren’t selling until I came in the door," she laughed.
De Benedetti had worked in the hospitality industry, in restaurants and catering. Now she would become a farmer, harvesting a new and exciting future.
"Some people think that’s crazy," she laughed.
"But you know life is short. I’m just following my passion and seeing where it takes me."
De Benedetti opened Boreal Farm and Farm Store. She farms according to the principles of permaculture. She practices 'no till' farming, respecting flourishing natural ecosystems, while working to live in harmony with her land.
"So, it’s basically one mass disturbance and then maybe in another 10 years we’ll disturb it again. How I see this farm is producing perennial foods; leaving this land way better than I found it for generations to come," she said.
The food grown, and prepared by De Benedetti, and by members of her community, is sold from an existing building on her property; a farm store, open every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"I decided to fill it up with all of our local makers, artisans and beautiful craftsmen. We’re so rich in this area with beautiful people making beautiful things," she said.
"So, I look at my store as an extension of my community. I can say, 'This is my buddy Dave’s ketchup. He made it himself, four different kinds,'" she smiles.
The store, and farm, satisfy our hunger for an authentic rural experience, while serving up important lessons about sustainability.
"Not just knowing your farm and your farmer but caring about the quality and integrity of your ingredients and where your food comes from. Those small steps shift us back into a regenerative sustainable way of living," said De Benedetti.
The farm is also a rural retreat. When the store is open, visitors are invited to wander the picturesque 115-acre property. There’s outdoor yoga in an open field every Sunday. And guests can book an overnight stay on the farm in a prospector tent, pitched beneath a canopy of trees.
"I just want people to feel really loved, held and nurtured by this land. So, we decided to put a prospector tent up so people could come have a two-night minimum stay on the farm," she said.
"Nothing to me is better than being out in the middle of the forest with yummy food and a delicious book. You start your morning out on the deck with coffee, and you end your night with a glass of wine. The big bonus is you can fetch your own eggs for breakfast," she said with a smile.
De Benedetti has plans to add a second tent, along with a wood-fired hot tub for her guests. The farm is also registered with Terego, a network of free overnight RV parking spaces offered by local producers in Canada who "warmly greet and host RV travellers."
De Benedetti offers an ongoing series of workshops—from Kombucha making to growing your own food. She will soon have a commercial kitchen on location where she will create scrumptious, gourmet offerings and boxed picnic lunches.
Boreal Farm is a place where your shoulders fall, and the stresses of life fade away. Christa De Benedetti offers wholesome, delicious food, rural escapes, and the gift of slow living.
"It’s all about the experience," said De Benedetti said.
"It’s truly magical. I get to share my land, nurture people through my food, grow my own food, and connect with my animals. You really have your finger on Mother Nature’s pulse while you’re here. It’s timeless at the farm. That’s what it feels like for me."
Boreal Farm is located at 70 Chemin du Lac-Bernard N. in Low, Que. The farm store is open Saturday and Sundays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.