Track Street Growers
Track Street Growers blossoms through community
For a couple that hosts an annual garlic festival, it’s only fitting that one of their first romantic gestures involved garlic.
Stu Smith was in the process of moving, but he didn’t know what to do with his boxes of garlic. He had just met Sarah Harper, so he showed up at her house on Track Street with them.
“I snuck up to the porch and placed these garlic in the shape of a heart on this chair in the front porch, recalled Stu. “And that’s history.”
Sarah Harper and Stuart Smith are the partners behind Track Street Growers. From that innocuous beginning their relationship has blossomed and led to a growing business selling garlic syrups, pepper sauces, and spice mixes that are mostly made from food grown in their backyard.
“We’re scrambling to keep up with a business that already has a humongous brand,” explained Sarah.
It’s a business that has grown organically, from selling their abundance of garlic to friends to creating a line of “value-added” products that combines Stu’s passion for growing and Sarah’s chef skills. Turning their abundance into sauces and spices also helped them turn their passion into a business.
“We take a pepper and turn it into a delicious bottle of fire,” said Stu. “The uniqueness makes it financially viable to be farming on the size of a dime.”
They launched the Revelstoke Garlic Festival at their urban farm and are fixtures at the farmers market. Their success is such that this year they dedicated even more time (and money) to meet the growing demand from locals and tourists.
“The tourists are attracted to local products,” explained Sarah. “When you sell a hot sauce called bear spray, they go, ‘Oh my God!'”
To expand they leased a plot of agricultural land near town to expand their garlic output, and purchased a commercial greenhouse for their peppers. Sarah stepped back from her work as a camp chef to focus on developing the business, while Stuart works around his weekend shifts at Downie Timber.
Track Street’s signatures are their garlic and peppers. They grow about 5,000 garlic bulbs and 40 different varieties of peppers, ranging from sweet to the dangerously hot Carolina Reaper. With that, they create a regular line of products, but they also experiment based on what’s in season, or simply if they’re inspired. Their products are purchased lovingly by locals and tourists.
The Garlic Festival was once again a resounding success in its sixth year, attracting close to 2,000 people. Hosted on their small farm, it’s a homegrown event that attracts vendors from the region and provides a showcase for local food producers both to locals and tourists.
“The main highlight I’m seeing about Tracks Street Growers as a business is its driving factors are coming from the marketplace,” related Sarah. “It’s coming from the community, from our community. And we’re scrambling to keep up.”