Eyking Farms - Grown Fresh in Atlantic Canada
John S. Eyking Senior was born in Beverwyk, Holland and grew up working on the family farm. While helping his father grow and produce tulip bulbs, he learned at an early age about the values, and the hard work, that help sustain a family farming operation.
John S. Eyking Senior immigrated to Canada in 1963 in search of new opportunity. He arrived in Nova Scotia and worked at various jobs, all related to agriculture, before he bought his own farm in the fertile Boularderie Island region of Cape Breton.
Today, along with wife Jeanne and their ten children, John S. Eyking Senior is the founder of a variety of farming operations – and he credits the success of these operations to the involvement of the entire family. His children and grandchildren now operate various aspects of the farming business and plan on continuing the family farming tradition for many generations to come. For his numerous contributions to agriculture and to the community, John S. Eyking Senior was honoured by the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1997. www.nsac.ca/halloffame/citations/eyking_john.htm
The 200-acre Eyking Farms vegetable operation is located within close proximity to Hilly Acres, a commercial egg production facility, and Eykings Under Glass, a hydroponic greenhouse operation that supplies cucumbers and tomatoes to a wide range of Atlantic Canadian retail markets. Eyking Farms is also the largest producer within the Bras D’Or Cooperative, a cooperative that jointly markets and wholesales various products for Eyking Farms and neighbouring producers Hanks Family Farm, VanDommelen’s Farm, and Rendell’s Farm. John Senior’s son, John C. Eyking Junior, provides administrative and marketing support to the Bras D’Or Cooperative.
John E. Eyking Junior works with his grandfather John S. Eyking Senior, his father John C. Eyking, other family members and long-time employees of Eyking Farms to supply wholesale vegetables to Atlantic Canadian markets. He has been involved with market development and client relations activities at Eyking Farms for nearly two decades.
John E. Eyking Junior studied at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and is an active member of numerous agricultural organizations, including the Horticultural Council of Nova Scotia.
Joe King is the field operations manager of Eyking Farms and is responsible for the seeding, planting, and maintenance of all vegetable plants and fields. Joe has been with Eyking Farms for 31 years and is a resident of Millville, Nova Scotia. He is involved in an ongoing basis in developing new technological and labour-saving advances for Eyking Farms.
Starting in 2007, through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, Eyking Farms began hiring Jamaican workers to help supplement their Cape Breton workforce. Currently, there are 16 employees that come from Jamaica to work the fields in Millville. Although farm work is physically demanding, many of the Jamaican workers return year after year – and they've developed committed relationships – because Eyking Farms recognizes that their employees contribute a great deal to the success of the family farm. In return, the farm provides its Jamaican workers with the opportunity to support their families back home.
For the Jamaicans, the relationship with the Eykings goes beyond just their time spent at the farm. In February of last year, Joe visited employee Shane Cole in his home town of Chichester, Jamaica. It was there that he met Shane's newborn son Raheem -- who is Joe's new godson!
Eyking Farms also employs more than 20 seasonal workers from the local region -- including students -- to work on the farm. For these young people, farming is an opportunity to learn about working as a team, and about the importance of supporting the local food system. For many young people, getting "hands on" experience at farming is the stepping stone to exploring a career in agriculture