Ryan Swanson/ grower / Centreville, Nova Scotia, Canada
age / 37
crops / More than 130 acres of apples
business / Eisses Farms, Ltd.
education / Mount Royal University, Calgary
other experience / Learning from father and brother-in-law about the farm,
religious studies, and global traveler
title / Farm Manager
Q: What was your path to farming?
I was not thinking about farming at all when I was in high school or college. After college I originally was planning to go on a six-month mission working with troubled kids—that ended up being seven years of work traveling the world.
Then, I married my wife, who grew up on a farm, and I thought it was time for me to pursue something new.
Q: What’s your take on being a grower?
I unfortunately stereotyped farmers when I was in high school. And so my wife and I were like, “We’re not the typical farmers, and that’s okay.”
Farming is cool. A farmer doesn’t have to look a certain way or have certain experience.
I’m seven years into it. There are people [in the industry] that are willing to teach, and I want to pass that on. Whether that’s to my children, to the schools, or even strangers. Why not? I’m proud of it. I love it and want to share it.
Q: What challenges do you face in the next five years?
Being involved with other younger growers and learning from my father-in-law. Just trying to build connections within the industry. The next five years will be mostly about the transition plan.
It’s a really big task ahead for our family. Nova Scotia is small on the world scale, but we are proud of what we produce.
We’re proud of our Honeycrisp apple, and we know we can grow it well. And that’s how we can contribute to the overall apple-growing scene.
Read more about Young Growers around North America by visiting the Young Grower page at goodfruit.com/yg
TJ Mullinax joined Good Fruit Grower as digital producer and photojournalist in 2013. He photographs and edits visual stories for the print magazine and online publishing spaces. Along with editorial production, TJ develops and maintains the magazine’s digital products. -- Follow the author: Phone: (509) 853-3519 -- Email