And now the story of Chemainus’ Doug Groenendijk and Meghan Russell can be told.
For several months, they had to keep their relationship under wraps until the conclusion of the Farming For Love reality TV series on CTV. They obviously couldn’t even reveal that Groenendijk had selected Russell as his potential life partner from among the dating hopefuls on the show.
Filming wrapped up last fall, but that only seemed like yesterday to the television audience when Groenendijk, now 26, announced Russell, now 24, as his choice and she accepted by choosing him as well.
“It’s been about seven months since keeping Meghan under wraps,” laughed Groenendijk of Greendike Farm on Mount Sicker Road and his own Legend Dairy Farm between Chemainus and Crofton. “Thankfully, she moved out here a few months ago.”
A watch party at the Craig Street Brew Pub in Duncan Sunday night brought the finale of the series to the forefront and the reality of what lies ahead for the couple.
Groenendijk said there was about 50 people at the watch party glued to the TV in anticipation of how it would end.
“Sometimes I’m surprised what was shown,” chuckled Groenendijk. “It was a lot of fun watching it – all good.”
“The moment the finale was done, I met everybody all at once and I walked into their watch party,” noted Russell.
“We surprised everybody there, all my friends and family,” raved Groenendijk.
Groenendijk and Russell had an immediate connection since she’s a dairy researcher from the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph and comes from a family farm in the Ottawa Valley. Russell was comfortable doing all the required challenges on the farm during the show.
“I loved being on the farm,” she said. “I felt very at home.”
Russell’s parents have been encouraging throughout the process. It seemed like a no-brainer with her farming background and being single.
“They were the ones that originally told me to apply,” she said. “They were supportive off the start. They’re very happy for me. It’s been interesting for them to watch the show being aired.”
Groenendijk has always been busy on the farm and never thought he’d wind up going on a reality series for a relationship match.
“It’s crazy what life throws at you,” he conceded. “You’ve just got to take every opportunity and just give ‘er.”
Groenendijk said it was difficult to let down the other four daters who were vying to capture his heart.
“I was just looking for someone that would fit in with my lifestyle and understand what it’s like living on a farm,” he said. “She’s given me a lot of reassurance and support.
“It’s nice being able to focus on one lady now.”
“I know what the schedule can look like,” added Russell. “I take it like it comes. I know farms what they’re like. It really turned out well.”
Groenendijk said Russell’s many wonderful qualities won him over.
“She’s very, very kind to all those around her. She’s very courteous and she makes me smile. She makes me very happy.”
Since the final taping of the show, “lots has happened with her moving out here and getting settled on the island,” Groenendijk indicated.
That was in December and Russell got to experience her first winter in B.C.
“This is my first time ever out here,” she pointed out. “I love it. This winter was amazing. Kudos to my family back home for making it through their winter.”
Russell took up residence in Nanaimo and has been working at a veterinary practice for the time being.
Groenendijk is still on the family homestead, but a place of their own could be on the horizon soon for the couple now that the show has ended.
The next chapter in their developing relationship can now start playing out in real time.