In Woolwich Township, one would be hard pressed to drive down any highway without seeing a farm sign advertising local food for sale.
Cheryl Haack and Lloyd Stewart decided to take the farm to table idea, and bring it all into one place, but now, they are moving on.
The couple started Gone Local Meats and More, a local food retailer in Breslau about two years ago, and after seeing plenty of success with the business, were looking to expand, but not take on the added responsibility.
“We started thinking about it, realized our age and went, ‘what are we going to do about it?’” said Haack, adding that she believes someone should fill the gap they leave when they move on. “Anybody who wants to get into the local food business, I strongly encourage it. We have a lot of food in Waterloo Region and in particularly in Woolwich Township, so our idea was to bring it to Breslau so our customers didn’t have to go running around. It was a really good concept, it was successful, but we need to do something different at this point in life.”
At Gone Local, Haack and her husband sold plenty of local products, including but not limited to guernsey milk, beef, pork, turkey, chicken, lamb, rabbit, duck and goat. All of the products were raised and grown in Waterloo Region and into Guelph-Wellington a little bit. They also sold cheeses, butter, eggs, pepperettes, maple syrup, honey, jams, pickles, relishes, specialty sauces, stone milled flour, soup mixes, ice cream, fruits and vegetables in season, breads and the list goes on.
“We formed a lot of relationships with local farmers,” she said.
The idea came after working at a desk job for many years. Haack has always loved eating local and wanted to bring a centralized hub for others that shared her passion, adding that plans are in the works to expand into Cambridge under a new owner. “I love local food. It has been a passion of mine for quite a few years, and the opportunity came up to do something different, and we are hopefully passing it along.”
She wants people to look into buying their food local, even if they can no longer find it at the storefront on Woolwich Street in Breslau.
“You know exactly where your food is coming from. You can talk to the farmers and you can see how it is grown. It is so full of nutrients, so tasty, it is superior. Until somebody really tries it, it is hard to portray that until they eat it,” she said. “People would come in, we would show them the chicken, they would decide to give it a try, and they would come back and tell us that they couldn’t believe how good it tasted. Healthy animal, healthy food. To know that we have this much available right here, you have to ask why we are shipping it in from all over the place. I am not even sure that it is less expensive. We had a lot of people compliment us on the price point, asking why we weren’t more expensive. It didn’t need to be.”
She is sad to be leaving the community of Breslau, and the neighbours have expressed similar sentiments.
“I really hope that we have shared the value of local food with everyone and that our customers and the rest of the community will continue to source local food and support our local farmers and processors,” she said. “Well, people are ecstatic at the possibility of another location, but they are sad to see us go. This isn’t just about local food, we have developed a lot of friendships with the neighbours.”
The store will be closing their doors and starting the moving process this week, and they’re sad to be leaving.