Michael Doucette grew up in a small agricultural community in Western, PEI. From a young age he had a passion for growing vegetables, and as he grew older his love for producing food grew bigger. Michael was able to put himself through college from the profits he made from growing beans. Once he graduated, he put farming on the back burner and pursued a career in electronics. Almost a decade later, his desire to farm was stronger than ever; so Michael and his wife Linda purchased farmland in Johnston River, PEI. Now almost 20 years later Michael owns and operates his 94 acre organic produce farm, on top of working a full time job. Michael sells his produce at the Queen Street Market in Charlottetown each Sunday and some of his produce is also available at select Sobey’s locations. Michael’s future plans are to retire from his other job, so he can spend more time doing what he loves, farming.
Name: Michael Doucette
Occupation: Organic Farmer, but I also work full time at Bell Aliant.
What does your job entail?
I am a one man operation, so I do everything; from planting to weeding to harvesting to packaging to delivering to selling my produce. On this small farm, I grow rhubarb, butternut squash, golden beets, red beets, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic.
How long have you been involved in agriculture\food industry on PEI?
About 49 years, I grew up on a farm for a bit when I was young and started growing beans for the lady across the street when I was 5 years old. I worked at farms in my community, and started growing vegetables as a kid and then every year after that it kept scaling up. I was able to basically put myself through college growing yellow beans.
What is your education/ experience prior to entering your current job?
I took electronics at Holland College. Then I started working for the phone company, and after 9.5 years there, they decided to downsize and I unfortunately got caught up in those layoffs. Then I went back to Holland College and took electro-mechanical and computer engineering technology. Once I had all my courses I got hired on with Bell Aliant again.
Are you involved in any extracurricular or community activities?
I am the chairman for the Board of Directors for Johnston River Fire District. But between working a full time job and farming on the side, I am very busy so I am not involved in too much extra activities.
What’s your favourite vegetables that you grow and what is your most preferred way to eat it?
Golden Beets are my favourite. There are a number of ways that I love to eat them; roasting them in a casserole dish in the oven, wrapping them in tin foil and putting them on the BBQ, eating them raw, or boiling them like a typical beet.
When you were a kid, what did you want to do when you grew up?
When I was young my father had sold the farm and went into a career in electrical, so I always thought I would follow in his footsteps and be an electrician. But since I grew up in a rural agricultural community and did the vegetables in the summer, a part of me always had the desire to farm.
What would you want consumers to know about your business and the agriculture/food industry?
Local food is quality, it is not passed through many different hands and with local food you know where it is coming from and what goes into it. The money stays here to support local economy. It is genuine food that you can trust.
Why do you do what you do?
There is a special satisfaction to be gained from seeing people enjoy and appreciate the food that you have worked so hard to produce.