Street,” she smiles. “My dad Eric planted four acres of sweet corn for me at his 200- acre farm on Airport Road and I sold it all summer long.” Not only did Bre make money that summer to help pay for her education, she had fun doing it. “I loved talking with customers and getting to know them,” she says of that first year. “Before long, people were making a special trip just to buy from me. It was great.” The following summer, Bre added strawberries to her offerings. “I decided that if I was going to be working eight hours a day, I might as well have another product available for people,” she says. With each passing summer, the operation grew. Fast forward to 2019, and Bre’s makeshift veggie stand at the car wash seems like ancient history. Today, Bre is married to her high-school sweetheart Kyle Gillespie, and has three beautiful, busy kids. She holds a Masters of Health Science degree in Speech- Language Pathology degree from the University of Toronto and for the past several years, has worked at Oxford Speech Plus. Her clientele includes children diagnosed with language difficulties, voice disorders, developmental delays, literacy challenges and even those on the Autism Spectrum. But if you think Bre has
given up her farm-girl ways, you’d be wrong. In fact, today, you’ll find Bre’s Fresh Market is bigger and better than ever. “I love my career as a speech pathologist but I’ve never wanted to give up the market,” she says. “I just like it too much—and fortunately, Kyle feels the same. He’s been an amazing business partner.” “It’s a labour of love and a real family effort,” says Kyle. “This summer, I’ll be out in the field most days, and another family member will be managing the store. We still share equipment with Bre’s dad, and rotate crops over to the family farm when needed.” This year, Kyle expects to plant about 30 acres, and grow four different crops. “Bre’s dad has taught me so much over the years,” says Kyle. “But we’ve also learned that growing for retail sale is a lot different than selling to wholesalers, or food processors.” “You’re literally planting every two days, a half-acre at a time, to ensure you can
provide a high quality product throughout the season,” says Bre. With the trend toward eating fresher, healthier, locally-grown food, Bre’s Fresh Market is poised for continued success. Both Kyle and Bre are quick to credit Tourism Oxford for inspiring them to grow beyond a roadside stand. “It’s been a real journey,” says Kyle. “Over the course of a season, we’ll stock produce from 21 different local farms. We also have a wide assortment of meats, cheeses and sweets from area businesses.” Over the winter months, Kyle and Bre made significant renovations to the store, with more changes still to come. Nevertheless, Bre and her family have never lost sight of two things she attributes to her success: friendly customer service and fresh local food. Learn what crops are currently in season at www.bresfreshmarket.com .
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