Greta Mathewson’s Woolies a Farmers’ Market staple
The diversity of the Truro Farmers Market can be seen every Saturday, not only by the wares for sale, but by looking to the vendors themselves.
One such vendor is Greta Mathewson of Central North River, who has been serving customers at the market for the last 22 years. She was born in Calgary, graduated as a nurse in 1952, went to Tanzania to work in a mission and there met her husband Bill.
Together they travelled to Scotland where they lived for three years before moving back to Canada in 1968. Bill (better known as Professor Emeritus) taught sheep and cattle management at the NSAC and Greta nursed at the Colchester Hospital.
They bought Upperbrook Farm in 1972 and reared North County Cheviot sheep. The sheep produced a lot of wool and the problem arose on what they should do with it. Greta decided wool comforters were the way to go, as the wool is lofty and nonflammable. Soon word spread and friends and family were buying them as fast as she could make them.
Bill sadly passed away in 2008 and Ruth, one of their four children, moved home to help. Greta still has sheep on the farm, 86 lambs this year alone. They also have two heifers, ducks, chickens, dogs and a cat, and Greta spends time making 20 types of jams and jellies from their no-spray fruit.
In 2011 Harmeny Mill (named after their house in Scotland) was added, in order to process the wool, as well as for other customers. And in 2012 the farm won the Environmental Farm Stewardship Award.
Greta suffers from arthritis, but you can find her, with a smile, surrounded by her “woolies and jam” at the Truro Farmers’ Market every Saturday, April through December.
Linda Finnie is a fellow vendor at the Truro Farmers’ Market.