Saunders Farm statement on Bradley-Craig barn

(press release via Saunders Farm)

Our mission here at Saunders Farm is to create amazing fun, food and memories, and our vision is to be the most amazing family farm in the world.

As a long-standing member of the North American Farmers Direct Marketing Association- an association of leading farms that sell directly to their customers – and Ontario Farm Fresh- the equivalent Ontario association- we have travelled all over the U.S., Canada and the U.K. to visit farms and to seek inspiration and ideas.  And hundreds of farmers have travelled from around the world to our Farm in Munster to seek similar inspiration.  

My parents, and my wife and I, have seen dozens of heritage restoration projects on these Farms.  Some projects have been done very well, while others hastily reassembled.  We’ve learned much in our travels.

We have always cared deeply about heritage in Goulbourn and in the City of Ottawa.  Through our actions of restoration and preservation of numerous historic buildings, we have been one of the leading advocates of preserving heritage in this region.  When my parents settled our family on this Farm almost 40 years ago, they quickly went about restoring the falling-down heritage farm buildings.

The original barns on our Farm were built over 180 years ago.

Over the years, 6 farmers have contacted us to disassemble their own falling-down barns, and to re-assemble the buildings onto our farm to preserve their heritage. We’ve re-built and restored 11 heritage farm buildings on our property.

Each of our heritage buildings has a plaque to tell the history of the building.  Two of these buildings were original homesteads built by the first European settlers to this area.

Saunders Farm is also working family farm. We grow crops. We support many local farmers. The farm sustains itself in this generation using a number of agricultural business models including direct farm marketing and Agri-tourism. The previous generation used direct marketing of strawberries and a tree nursery for sustainability and was one of the region’s first and most popular strawberry farms.  Every generation of farmers redefines agriculture.  And with the increasing challenge of sustaining a small family farm, innovative methods must be employed.  At the same time we are stewards of the land and preservers of our heritage. Heritage is a big part of who we are.

A couple of years ago we were approached by staff at Richcraft Homes about the possibility of Saunders Farm being a permanent home to that ‘big red barn’ on Hazeldean Road.  We later understood that the Bradley-Craig Barn, as it is known, was a ‘heritage-protected’ barn.  This past June, we toured the Barn for the first time and were impressed at its construction and beauty.  We also noted signs that it was deteriorating.

Richcraft came to our family as we have been excellent and diligent stewards of Goulbourn heritage.  Richcraft believes that our publically visited farm would be a great location to showcase this building to the public. We agree, as we want our heritage preserved.

We are very much looking forward to working with Richcraft, a well-known community builder, the City of Ottawa and Heritage Ottawa through this process.

Our desire is, and always has been, to celebrate and sustain our heritage.

Mark Saunders and Angela Grant Saunders
For the entire Saunders Farm family


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2 thoughts on “Saunders Farm statement on Bradley-Craig barn”

  1. I have the utmost respect for the Saunders family, their business, and their unwavering support of various community initiatives. That said, as a season pass holder who visits the farm regularly, I’ve never noticed the plaques or had any idea of the significance of the barns on the site. I doubt that I am alone in this. As much as I’m sure the Saunders family would take care of the barn, it isn’t their responsibility. Richcraft, as the property owner, has an obligation to maintain and protect the barn where it is — where it matters — as part of a heritage farmstead in Stittsville.
    Working within the constraints of a heritage-protected building likely poses challenges to convenience and profitability, but I am sure an established developer can use its creative resources to find an adaptive solution that works from a business perspective without wiping out a local heritage landmark.

  2. I too was unaware that 6 other farmers approached Saunders and old buildings were moved to Saunders, and are plaqued telling the buildings story.

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