I recently had an opportunity to visit a local farm about 45 minutes south-west of Ottawa. The visit reminded me that the grow-local movement and production of artisanal organic products are growing not only in
eastern Ontario but globally.
What’s powering it is a new generation and new
economics. Direct sales from farmer to consumer at farmers’ markets or from farmer direct to restaurants are changing the economic prospects of owning land for agriculture as opposed to speculating in land for development. I expect this trend to continue.
Here’s the story of my visit to Milkhouse Farm and Dairy, outside
of Smiths Falls Ontario:
My friend, Bill Dobson, shown below, took me to visit Milkhouse Farm and Dairy yesterday run by his
daughter and son-in-law, Caitlan and Kyle White.
Caitlan first wanted to be a psychologist, but eventually saw the light and now makes artisanal, organic cheese with her husband. They sell 12 lb wheels of cheese at farmers’ markets every weekend for $100 each, and they sell lots of them.
When we visited the farm, it was near dinner time for both humans and sheep. Bill warned me that the sheep are noisier than most people are before they’re fed, but assured me they would be quieter afterwards. Here’s
an 18-second video of the barn and its milkers, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NkjACCySmU
Here’s what I learned during my visit (I am now a 30-minute expert):
-they milk 68 ewes
-it’s better to be born a female if you are a sheep since most of the males are sold for meat, hence, you’ll live
-they have two rams to service the
females, but only really need one
-the other is a spare
-they apply a dye to the ram’s private
parts so they know which of the females have been bred the next day and which
-the ewes are milked 2x per day
-they get a break in October
-a break during which time they have sex (once)
-5 months (of gestation) later (in the
spring), presto magic, baby lambs
-the most productive milkers are kept around/the others are sold for meat, so not all ewes are created equal
-all parts of these animals are used
-wool is made into scarves and duvets by local entrepreneurs
-sheep skins keep babies warm
Apparently, their wool is the cleanest around and free of ticks. How come? Because they use rotational grazing. What’s that?
have multiple pads (12 paddocks in all) and only allow the sheep to graze in
one for three days. Then they’re moved to the next one.
allows grasses to recover faster (sheep eat their desert first; ie, the
sweetest part of the plants, their tops) and, because the sheep are not lying
down in their own dung, no ticks…
How do they keep weeds down? They spray deadly chemicals, of course. Just kidding.
Turns out buckwheat is highly digestible by humans, but deadly to weeds so they mix buckwheat seeds in with grass seeds and, abracadabra, no weeds.
“Why,” I ask Bill, “don’t more farmers do this?”
a lot faster just to spray, but it’s criminal what we are doing to the food
supply and the environment,” he answers.
profbruce @ quantum_entity
ps see the barn below? Caitlan and Kyle plan to turn renovate it into a home soon…
view my Century 21 Explorer Realty listings, please visit—
Bruce M Firestone, Century 21
Explorer Realty Inc broker, Ottawa Senators founder, call: 613.422.6757 x 250
text: 6137628884 tweet: @profbruce @quantum_entity http://www.brucemfirestone.com/
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