Growing peppers in the Rocky Mountains isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is for Sarah Harper and Stu Smith. Tucked not-so-far away from the bustling urban centre of Revelstoke lies Track Street Growers.
Track Street Growers is a semi-urban 2 acre farm in Revelstoke, BC. They focus on growing specialty hot peppers, garlic and mixed vegetables. They have developed a niche market for value added hot sauce that they process in their food safe kitchen and they offer farm services, such as land preparation and tillage. They are passionate about soil health, community, good food and celebration.
Sarah and Stu come together with backgrounds of culinary art, entertainment, creativity and technical farming to maintain this urban farm. Track Street Growers has grown, so to speak, from the lifestyle of Sarah and Stu. “We started with the idea that we were going to feed ourselves through the year,” says Sarah. This goal has evolved into a community-minded passion for local food, specifically “crazy, exotic peppers.”
Passion for farming and creativity collides at Track Street Growers — Black Cherry Starfish Hot Sauce is not your typical farm product, and Track Street Growers is better for it; they’ve found a meaningful marketspace. “It’s a combination of skills, passion for local food, gardening, unique products, and celebration,” says Sarah.
This love for celebration is certainly mirrored in the Annual Garlic Festival of Track Street Growers, which started as a small community gathering to sell some extra garlic and listen to live music and has evolved into a beloved community tradition, last year garnering about 1200 visitors and 20 vendors. The event is one that truly everyone is able to enjoy, from local food mavens to young families, to tourists. There is no shortage of support for community agriculture in the town: “Revelstoke has always had a pulse at the heart of it about local food. It has a real dedicated community when it comes to local food and food production, and those people continued to show up.” Sarah says.
While the couple isn’t busy tending to their farm, creating hot sauces or preparing for the farmer’s market, they offer a walk behind tilling service to turn lawns into gardens. The duo has helped many folks in Revelstoke begin their homestead journey by beginning gardens of their own.
It’s been a year of transitions, pivots and adjustments for Track Street Growers. COVID, festival cancellations, and challenges with distributing retail products were no match for Track Street Growers. The team chose to look at the silver lining of things. “When things were shutting down, we just got busy.” Breaking into the world of ecommerce, made especially relevant in the age of COVID, is no small feat. After trying a few platforms and methods of online distribution, the Track Street Growers team is switching course to an ecommerce platform hosted on Shopify.
Stay tuned for an ecommerce site and next year’s garlic festival plans. Until then, find Track Street Growers on social media and follow pepper-fuelled extravaganzas.