Meet the Maker: Deb MacKay

Occupation: Greenhouse & Garden Manager, ClearWater Farm

Like many of us, Deb MacKay has a daily commute to work. The difference is that a traffic jam for Deb involves a flock of Canada Geese meandering across the road, on their way to (or from) a dip in Lake Simcoe! On her daily 5-minute drive, Deb gets a spellbinding dose of nature in one of the province’s most beautiful places.

Deb is Greenhouse & Garden Manager at ClearWater Farm in Georgina, ON. The farm’s mandate is to grow fresh, nutritious food that benefits the land, water, local economy and community. With the farm, Deb shares a passion for good food and food industry experience.

“I like to cook, and I like to eat,” says Deb. “But I’ll only cook things that are worth eating.” Deb devoted 20 years of her career to managing restaurants and pubs across Canada. Her experience in the culinary sector is bolstered by extensive travels, which take Deb around the world. Wherever goes, Deb makes a point of sampling regional cuisine, following her taste buds to the next great flavour.

Today, at ClearWater Farm, Deb revels in checking in on “everybody” – the vegetables, edible flowers and microgreens. Along with planting, maintenance and harvesting, Deb also gives tours to visitors. She loves delighting and surprising people with the literal fruits of her labour. “Freshly grown vegetables are like art,” says Deb. “The feel, the look of a beautiful, shiny eggplant.”

This autumn, Deb is basking in the late tomato season, making rich sauces to last through the winter. One of her favourite discoveries is a type of Japanese turnip called hakurei. “You can slice it up and eat it raw,” says Deb. “Or cook it lightly for a delicious and colourful Thanksgiving side dish.”

Visit Deb and her team at ClearWater Farm on Fridays (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) and Saturdays (8:00 am – 12:00 pm) or stop in for one of the farm’s many scheduled events!

YDH Logo
X