As it becomes more difficult for aspiring entrepreneurs to forge a place for themselves in larger urban centres, many young business owners are seeking out smaller communities in which to grow their businesses and realize their dreams.
Recent years have seen the Bay of Quinte region emerge as a new business hotspot, an ever-growing region with true small-town values and an unparalleled sense of community. Meet the inspiring young entrepreneurs whose vision, talent, and tireless hard work are breathing new life into our vibrant region.
Interview Questions: Devin and Leslie Huffman of Barn Owl Malt
- What is your business? — Barn Owl Malt is a local craft malt house; we use a traditional technique called “floor malting” to malt Ontario grown grains, mainly barley, for our local craft breweries. Malting is a three-step process of hydrating, germinating, and kilning. We’re creating a new local market for Ontario grains, in particular, malting barley, while providing traceable local ingredients to craft brewers in the region.
- How long have you been in the region? — We moved to the Bay of Quinte region in June of 2012, though we often visited the area in our free time prior to moving here.
- What brought you here? — After years of remote living for work, we knew we wanted to settle down in a rural setting. We chose a property here that had once belonged to Devin’s grandparents, and began living our dream. This property is quite special to the Huffman family, with Devin having spent a lot of time here as a kid and a lot of family nearby. We feel very lucky to call this place home and to be able to operate our unique business right here on our land.
- If you had to give the Bay of Quinte Region a slogan, what would it be? — Something for Everyone. It seems like we’re constantly discovering new things going on. The Bay of Quinte region really does have it all: great barley and grapes, beer and wine, cheese and chocolate, hiking and cycling, festivals and retreats, paddle boarding and beaches.
- What is your best secret for surviving the winter here? — We produce our malt year round, like so many other local food and beverage producers. Winter is a great time to take advantage of that, by getting out and seeing what the Bay of Quinte has to offer. It’s a time when tourism is lower and you can get to know your local producers on a more relaxed and more personal level.
- What makes the Bay of Quinte region a good fit for your business? — The Bay of Quinte region is a great fit for our business for a number of reasons: The region has great farm land and farmers from which we have been able to source much of our grains for malting. There’s a fantastic growing community of brewers here in the region (www.quintecraft.ca). This provides a unique opportunity for our malt to be processed into beer in the same region the grain was grown. Now that’s local! Being central to Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, and Peterborough, with close access to the 401 makes for a pretty great location with regards to distribution as well.
- What piece of advice would you give to other people moving their businesses to the area? — We would say go for it! There are a lot of options here for supporting and facilitating new businesses, such as local small business centres and organizations like Quintevation. Whatever the business, get out there and make it happen!
For more information on Barn Owl Malt visit barnowlmalt.ca
Feature Image photo credit goes to Meghan Lewis
The Canadian Rural Innovation Summit is coming to Belleville on November 19th & 20th. Keynote speakers, local entrepreneurs, food, wine and craft beer will all be there to define, explore and motivate the Bay of Quinte Region towards being the most dynamic rural innovative region in Canada by 2023.
For full details and ticketing information visit ruralinnovation.ca