Pat and Fred Gittings worked at Cameco – he was an exploration geologist and she worked in corporate affairs – but they wanted away from the ups and downs of the mining industry. Fred took an MBA where, for the final project, his group investigated the feasibility of a greenhouse cucumber operation.
Says Pat: “Research showed that people in Saskatoon ate the most cucumbers in Canada. I have no idea why but with the number of cucumbers we sell, I think that’s still valid!”
They started Grandora Gardens in 1990 with one greenhouse but quickly expanded to meet the demand for their cucumbers, adding tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, herbs and a variety of chilies. Every year, they bring the first fresh vegetables to the farmers’ market with cucumbers in February. They also sell produce at Co-op grocery stores.
On a busy summer Saturday, the lineup at the Gittings’ vegetable stand wends its way through the market. “Sometimes I feel bad because we’re so busy that we don’t have much time to talk with people,” says Pat. “I rather enjoy the late season in fall when it’s slower, we’re less busy and it gives us time to visit.”