Ryan Cullen was teaching in Asia when he found his true calling. Facing a career crossroads, Ryan was mulling what to do next when a friend introduced him to farming. “The lightbulb flicked on,” says Ryan. “This is what I should be doing with my life.” Inspired, Ryan read voraciously, volunteered on farms and returned home to Durham, ON in search of credentials.
What he found was Durham College’s W. Galen Weston Centre for Food (CFF). Ryan took the Food and Farming program, and actively participated in many CFF activities. Upon graduation, Ryan worked with organic farming superstar Jean-Martin Fortier before returning to CFF to work as the Centre’s Field Supervisor. Today, Ryan manages the greenhouses, fields and orchards, as well as a dedicated team of students. “I love working with our students,” says Ryan. “They are ambitious, passionate and want to learn.”
Variety adds spice to Ryan’s work – in any given week, he can be planting and harvesting, hosting tours and speaking at community events. Ryan works closely with Raul Sojo (Head Chef at CFF’s Feast ON®-certified restaurant Bistro 67) and the College’s Culinary program to plan their planting strategy in anticipation of future menus. “We grow as much as we can in the field to support the culinary program and bistro as well,” says Ryan.
This fall, Ryan and his team are celebrating their first honey harvest as well as a banner year for the apple orchard. “Chef Raul is testing an amazing new dessert made from apples and sweetened with honey,” says Ryan. “One of the perks of my job is that I get to be the first to try it!”
Taste the unforgettable freshness of a truly field-to-fork meal at Bistro 67! Make reservations for lunch or dinner and savour your meal while overlooking the very fields that supply its ingredients.