How We Do It

TURKEYS

What a lot of people don’t know is that, to grow over 50 turkeys, you have to buy quota.  We are regulated by the Ontario Turkey Board, and are part of a Farm Food Safety Program.  What does this mean? It means our barns are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected every year and we prevent entrance to the barn by anyone that may have been in an other poultry barn recently.  Records are kept and audited on everything from cleaning techniques to number of mouse traps and who all visited the barn.   This is all done to keep our birds healthy.

That’s the technical side of growing turkeys.  The real side is all the care Brian takes to keep the turkeys happy, healthy and safe.  Our turkeys run free in our new, naturally ventilated, barn.  When it’s hot the walls roll down to provide the birds with lots of fresh air and when it is cooler the walls stay up keeping the birds warm.

We keep our turkeys happy and keep them active.  They have hanging straw bales to peck apart, and hanging tin cans, that shine when the light falls on them, to attract their attention.

Our turkeys are corn grain soybean fed, no medicated feed, no growth hormones.

For Thanksgiving and Christmas our turkeys are carefully processed in a government inspected, Mennonite run, plant in Elmira.  We sell fresh from the farm and to butcher shops.  We also use Max Meats, out of Downsview, to create for us ground turkey, smoked legs and wings, sausages, kolbasa, pepperettes and parts all of which are available at our farm market.

FIELDS & CROPS

We are stewards of the land and believe that healthy farming practices makes for healthy soil which in turn makes for healthy vegetables.  Since we grow turkeys, we use the manure they produce on the fields as natural fertilizer.   We plow back into the fields all the old vegetable matter and crops grown as green manure.  What does this do?  This allows the natural bacteria in the soil to break down the plant material and, like a huge composter; the nutrients are now available for next year’s crops.  

We also practice crop rotation, so where a crop was grown one year it will be grown in a different field the next year.

Brian has been farming since he was 19—we won’t mention his age- and he believes it is very important to treat the soil, our greatest asset, right.
To keep the weeds down we do a lot of hand hoeing and rototilling.

If it’s dry we irrigate the fields and we have our own hives for flower pollination. This is especially important for beans, peas, strawberries, pumpkins etc. Bees are the most important insect on the farm.
What about insect pests?  Yes, like all farms, we have to deal with the insects that are out to destroy our crops.

We practice a minimal spray program, which means we only spray when necessary to save a crop using organic sprays first.  Brian is certified in a spray safety course and responsibly takes care of our fields and crops.  

People have asked us why we have not gone “certified organic”.  One of the things that the government defines organic to mean is ‘ naturally occurring in the environment’ and there are over 200 naturally occurring chemicals used in sprays, including arsenic and nicotine with absolutely no regulations on their use.  This just doesn’t sit well with us so we have no intentions of ever going organic.

VARIETIES

How do we start?  With seeds. We use Stokes Seeds out of St. Catharines.  
We always choose which vegetables to grow for their taste.  The old heritage varieties have the best taste and a lot of the time they have natural bug and disease resistance- so this is what we grow.  That means they do not have long lasting storage qualities or don’t always look the prettiest.

Picture perfect produce- like in the grocery store- is often only available due to heavy chemical usage, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
So what we have tastes great and is good for you and can be eaten straight from the fields!

Some seeds are sown directly in the fields, like beans, but to be earlier, and with some varieties, like cauliflower and broccoli we start seeds in the greenhouse and when the chance of frost is gone we start planting out in the fields.  

We start seeding in April and don’t finish seeding until the middle of June, putting the last little plants out in the fields no later than the middle of July.  This allows us to continually harvest, from new patches, June to the middle of November.  So we are always able to give you the best and freshest.