We had the pleasure of watching over Green Fire Farm for a few days. It’s always an honour knowing that these folks (and my farming mentor) trust us with their livelihood. On their farm they have 19 pigs, 14 laying hens, 6 chicks, 2 cats, 1 horse and several acres of fruits and veggies… e-i-e-i-o!
In the off season we eagerly look forward to eating all of the incredible and perfectly harvested food that they grow. Zucchinis – the perfect size, arugula – not too spicy, sungold tomatoes – bursting with flavour. Everything is grown organically (no synthetic pesticides or herbicides) taking into account land stewardship and soil building practices. Crop rotation, cover cropping and animal (pig) integration all play important roles in building/maintaining healthy soils (the foundation of a good farm) and fostering biodiversity.
Seeing the diversity of both plants and animals is a good indicator of a healthy ecosystem. There’s a certain balance that you can sense while walking through the fields… and the pigs! Oh the pigs! They are such a joy to be around. Seeing them happily run about, engaging in their natural piggy tendencies, is one of my favourite things. They spend their days rooting around in the soil, rolling in the mud, piling on top of one another and of course eagerly awaiting their next meal. I spent some time hanging out with the pigs, spraying them with cool water on hot afternoons and giving them a good scratch behind the ear.
It’s always a humbling experience, seeing where our food comes from. I have spent time working on organic farms, yet whenever I am away from them for even just a few months it can be easy to forget how much hard work goes into putting veggies on our tables. It is such a pleasure to be able to give our farmer friends a break while they (hopefully) don’t worry about the farm and can relax for even a day or two. We are grateful for all of the hard work that farmers do to provide us with high quality, nutritious and fresh foods!
If you haven’t been out to visit a farm I encourage you to chat with food producers at your local farmers market and see if you can have a visit. Or even look into volunteering on a local farm. Getting your hands dirty is honestly one of the most rewarding experiences!