Highwood Crossing is a local, fourth generation, family farm found between Okotoks and High River. Tony and Penny Marshall took over the farm in 1989 and returned Highwood Crossing to the organic roots that Tony’s great grandfather had founded the farm on.
Community and Highwood Crossing have been partners and friends for almost twenty years. They were both considerably smaller businesses when they meet. Highwood Crossing was selling their products at farmer markets and Community had only one store – on 10th Avenue. Over the years they’ve forged a friendship based on mutual respect, understanding and compassion which is quite an accomplishment in this day and age when you consider the massive penetration of conglomerates and chains who do not have similar relationships with their vendors.
Highwood Crossing’s vision it to grow and produce the healthiest, best quality products in a sustainable and earth-friendly manner with organic systems and ingredients.
Community carries their canola and flax oils, cereal grains, baking mixes for pancakes, waffles and pizza, plus a variety of flours, unbleached white, pastry and rye. What differentiates these products from other similar products is that they’re locally produced and Certified Organic. Tony said because of the close proximity to Calgary he believes they offer the best prices. Additionally, the products stand out because of their freshness. The oils are pressed fresh each week and the granola is baked fresh each week. They are not sitting in a warehouse. Highwood Crossing offers items to order for local buyers too. Highwood is currently developing five new types of granola. Both the oils and granolas are best-sellers and were so from Day 1 and 2, consecutively, when Highwood Crossing started.
The health benefits offered through the Highwood Crossing products are many and vary from product to product. The benefits include: high fiber, low sodium, low sugar, no additives or preservatives, low fat, high omega-3 EFA, minimal processing and freshness.
The massive flooding in High River in 2013 was devastating for Highwood Crossing. They had only been in their new processing facility in High River for six months when the flood ravaged the facility. Tony said they were fortunate to have the original facility back at the family farm. If it hadn’t been available they would have shut down and then probably started out again as a new business. Tony proudly said the Highwood Crossing team stepped up and said let us run the business as Tony and Penny were in shock from another aftermath of the flooding – their farm home and farmlands had been devastated.
The team had Highwood Crossing up and running again in one month. Over the next eighteen months Highwood Crossing returned to their facility at High River. There were long waits involved over those months as they dealt with the government and the unavailability of trades’ people. Their farm house was also restored. Through another stroke of good fortune the farmlands were recertified as Organic within three months. The organic body determined the volume of water surging over the farm was so massive (hundreds of thousands of cubic litres) that it had diluted anything non-organic. Tony recognizes the loving support he and Penny were given during this catastrophe.
High River, today, through its people, is in full re-build and repair mode. There is construction, downtown revitalization, new development, new streets, walking paths, parks, landscaping and more being built. High River now has the best flood protection of any town or city in Canada. Tony said the people of High River are resilient, creative and determined to make High River the best place in Canada to work, play and raise their families. We are proud to be part of this great community that many of our team calls home.
Tony said his hope for Highwood Crossing is to keep touching lives and having wonderful relationships through nourishing the community.
By: Debbie Flynn