Today we’re meeting Lindsay, a sod farmer from Quebec, and you guys, I am so so impressed with how much food she and her husband grow for themselves…don’t miss the list in her answer to question #4!
1. Tell us a little about yourself
Hi there! My name is Lindsay from Quebec, Canada. I am part owner and operator of our 6th generation farm. We farm sod (yes, like actual grass) and more recently, we started running a garden centre!
My husband and I also have a 1-acre vegetable patch that we use to preserve our own food and help to reduce our grocery bill during the summer.
We have two kids aged 8 and 4 and spend a lot of our time on our farm or enjoying small-town life!
Growing things is my passion. I love soil and plant science and I feel very blessed to be able to do that every day for work. I also love helping to teach people how to garden on their own and preserve to save money!
A lot of the time, it’s a lot more complicated in our minds than in actual execution.
In the cold wintertime (I mean, Canada, right? Ha ha), I like to quilt in my spare time. I am a 34-year-old who loves some traditional hobbies.
2. How long have you been reading The Frugal Girl?
I have been a long-time reader of The Frugal Girl and originally found the blog from a search engine result of “cheap meal ideas”.
The WIS, WWA quickly became favorite posts. I also loved the simple breakdown of meals and the idea of as little food waste as possible! Discarded food is like throwing away money in my eyes.
3. How did you get interested in saving money?
I had never before had personal debt until after getting married. While a beautiful day, the chokehold I felt by trying to pay it off while also living a newlywed life weighed on me. Once it was paid off, I vowed never to be in that position again. I wanted to be able to tell my money where to go versus the other way around.
As time went on, I loved the challenge of pinching every penny and attempting to do things as nicely yet frugally as possible. Seeing the number in savings grow, became a game. We’d set up “savings goals” for items or vacations we’d want and a timeline to do it.
So began the challenge of achieving that goal as fast as possible with still being able to eat, have a house and enjoy life a little but not go into any debt.
4. What’s your best frugal win?
Easily, our garden!
This beautiful patch allows us to really tighten the purse strings on our grocery budget. We live quite a distance from any large grocery stores so planning our food is of utmost importance.
It is not an option for us to just “run to the store” for a missing ingredient. So we plan our meals from what we’ve grown ourselves (both animal and vegetable/fruit) or what is in season during that time of year.
Some items we no longer buy from the store because we grow or produce ourselves:
- dried herbs
- marinara sauce
- pizza sauce
- apple chip
- apple sauce
- frozen veggies (corn, carrots, and beans for example)
- maple syrup
The other win would be our learning of producing maple syrup!
9 years ago, I was dealing with fertility issues. My doctor at the time recommended cutting out all conventional sugar for 90 days. I did this and saw huge benefits in my health. Not only was I pregnant, but I also had cleared up my adult acne, improved joint pain, and just felt healthier.
The only problem is, good sources of local honey or maple syrup are expensive! Being surrounded by acres of land, I looked at our maple trees and declared, “We can do this!”
That spring, we tapped 50 trees and haven’t looked back! Now, we are able to produce all the sugar in the form of maple syrup we need for the year (50 litres) for almost free!
5. What’s one thing you splurge on?
Our side-by-side or as some refer to it as our ATV.
This was saved for and paid with cash but is both necessary and fun. We are surrounded by acres of fields so it is a form of entertainment to take it for a drive around in the evenings.
But also an important tool in making maple syrup, maintaining the garden, and checking crops.
6. If $1000 was dropped into your lap today, what would you do with it?
Not a fun answer but I would stock up on pantry staples!
It’s no secret that the cost of food is much higher this year. I’d love to channel my inner squirrel tendencies and stock up on some of those staples we use but can’t produce like salt, butter, flour, and yeast.
7. What frugal tips have you tried and abandoned?
The cash envelope system! We live too far away from a bank to make this a possibility!
I think it is easier to set a budget beforehand and become disciplined enough to only spend that amount.
8. What is something you wish more people knew?
I think it’s important to learn that to be frugal, also means to be patient. In this fast-paced world, where everything is at our fingertips at the click of a button, there is a sense of peace and satisfaction that can come from being patient in your money decisions. This patience allows you to really decide if the item is not only right for you but also worth that cost.
The big kicker: that practicing of patience doesn’t come overnight and so many elements around you will direct you to do differently. Don’t be hard on yourself, take it one day and one dollar at a time, and know that little money savings do add up to a lot!
Lindsay, thanks so much for participating in this series! I am amazed at how much food you produce, especially given that you have a short-ish growing season up there in Canada.
And I love what you said in your last answer: that patience is such a key part of making good money decisions. I agree 100%!
One question from me: do you sell your sod directly to consumers? Or do you sell it to landscapers and retailers?