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Spring has Sprung

Springtime on the farm is something that I await with anticipation. No matter how much I love winter (which I do); there is something just amazing about springtime. All of the pastures are starting to green up, the song birds are back, our animals start to have their babies and there is more light. Waking up to daylight makes it so much easier to get out of bed.  This spring we’ve been working on pruning the apple trees, bringing in firewood for next fall/winter, starting all of our seedlings in the greenhouse, spreading compost on the fields, keeping all of the animals alive and healthy, and some bigger maintenance opportunities. We’re building 2 big tent platforms for our 16′ dia. prospector tents, which are where Kevin and Mason will be living for the season. To learn more about our fabulous 2017 farm crew, click here.

2017 Farm Letter and Order Info

Dear Customers,If now is not the moment to read an update about goings-on around the farm, the important thing to take away from this letter is that we strongly encourage you to put your meat orders for 2017 in NOW. It is essential to order now for pork and beef that you’d like to get this spring and summer as our pigs have grown very well and go to the butcher this month. Our next pigs likely won’t be ready until August, and similarly with the beef – we’re sending some in May and then won’t send the next ones until September.Order online here. Send us an email with your order. Call us (519.528.2493), or print off the form and scan/mail or fax it back to us.It’s hard to believe that over the course of the last 2.5 months we’ve had such yo-yo-ing weather. Yesterday was balmy, sunny and snow free (though the wind was pretty bitter), while today there are a couple of inches of snow already on the ground and more making its way down to be blown about while we take hay out to the cattle in the back pasture.We started 2016 off transitioning the farm business from Tony and Fran to me, and we ended the year with the sale/transfer of the property. It was a remarkable year – full of new learnings, laughter, hard work and remembering why we are committed to this work and way of life. We put a lot of resource into additional infrastructure and systems that would make it more manageable for me as Tony and Fran transition into how they want to continue being involved with the farm, which means working less. It has been a great opportunity to reflect and think about why we do things certain ways and how we do things and if there are opportunities for improvement.We feel very fortunate that on the whole we’re healthy and happy. Working with other members of our family is a joy most days, and it’s a treat to be able to weave Rachel, Robin, Elliot and Emily into the goings on whenever they are able to join us. It is incredibly rewarding to have a multi-generational farm that is a gathering place for friends, family and community.As we look forward, we are thrilled to introduce you to our 2017 season farm team additions: Ellie Greenler and Mason Sharp. Both are experienced, passionate and thoughtful farmers. We do still have one more apprentice opportunity open, so if you know of anyone who is interested in learning organic, diversified farming techniques, please invite them to get in touch ASAP.For local folks, we’re excited to announce that we’re doing a weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) vegetable share, flower CSA, with optional egg add-on, and will also be at the Goderich and Kincardine farmer’s markets each Saturday. Check out our CSA page for more info and to sign up! Or call us to find out more information. Please share with anyone you think might be interested. For us the CSA isn’t just about growing and sharing good vegetables, but also about developing community around food and the farm. We’ll keep a CSA blog to keep you up to date on what to expect in your box, share recipes, and have a couple socials for CSA members to meet each other and get more of the farm experience.We’re also excited that Lydia and Jazmin, our 2 French alpine goats, will be kidding in May. Not only will this add an extra layer of cuteness and playfulness to the farm, but it also means that starting fall 2017 we will have a limited amount of cabrito available. Let us know if you’re interested.As always, we hope that you’ll be able to come out to the farm – either for a visit when picking up your order, or for our May Open House; this year, Saturday, May 13th, (10am-4pm) and Sunday, May 14th, (1-4pm) 2017. Come out to pick up pre-ordered beef and pork, maple syrup, honey and low-sugar farm jams, purchase organic seedlings, have a farm tour, horse drawn wagon rides, (gluten free) sausage on a bun and much much more!We’re glad to be sharing our life’s work with you in the form of high quality, sustainably raised and grown, organic meat and produce. Thank you for supporting our farm and family. We trust you enjoy eating it as much as we enjoy producing it.All the best,Katrina McQuailPS. Tag/follow us on Instagram @meetingplaceorganicfarm or follow/like us on Facebook

Upcoming House Show

We’re very excited to be welcoming one of our past apprentices- Alex Bien back to the farm for a house concert on February 4th, 2017 as part of his Ontario tour. The details:Doors open at 7:30pmMusic starts at 8:00pm and goes till 10:00pm with an intermission.Bring your own instruments if you can stay after to jam.There will be snacks and refreshments to nibble during the show, but you’re welcome to bring something to contribute.Cost: Pay what you can. Suggested donation of $15-$20.Opportunity to purchase CDs and other merchandise on site.Limited seating – please RSVP to Katrina or purchase you ticket here.

2017 Preview

Twenty sixteen isn’t quite done, but we’re already looking ahead to 2017. We’ve got big plans for the farm, including:Restarting our community supported agriculture (CSA) vegetable garden model. We’re looking for local households that want to receive fresh, seasonally appropriate, organically grown vegetables each week of the summer. We’ll provide you with recipes and tips on what to use them for. You’ll be signing up to be part of our broader farm community, with community socials and a deeper connection to the ebbs and flows of the seasons.Potentially starting up a flower / bouquet CSA. We’ve been inspired by other farmers that we know across the USA and Canada who are adding beauty to the lives of those around them by offering organically grown flowers either in pre-made bouquets or as a do-it-yourself option. No one wants to bring hidden sprays and chemicals into their homes, so avoid them by opting for sustainably grown flowers.Social and educational events! We’ve already got our first house concert scheduled with Alex Bien, one of our 2010 apprentices. He’ll be on tour and is stopping in on February 4th, 2017 to bring the Lodge alive with his music. We’ll have tickets for this and other social and educational events early in 2017. Contact us for more information or to reserve your spot!All of this on top of what we’ve always been doing:Grass-fed beef. Our cattle spend almost all of their lives out on pasture, with only the occasional visit to the barn, mainly if the weather is particularly unpleasant, or if we need to handle them and it is easier to use gates instead of electric fencing. Our cattle eat only grass and hay and graze as a herd, except during breeding season, when those we don’t want bred are kept separate from the bull.Pastured Pork. Our sows, Sneeze and Hiccup are all cozy for the winter, waiting to farrow in March and treat us to another couple litters of adorable piglets whole live the majority of their lives out on pasture. They make mud pits, root around in the grass and make sport out of racing back and forth to the feeders when we check in on them at least twice a day.Pastured Chicken. Our poultry are raised in pens (to protect them from animals and birds that think they’d make a tasty snack) that are moved daily onto fresh grass. They spend their days deciding whether they want to be in the shade or sunlight, chasing after insects and scratching in the dirt and grass. We think they’ve got it pretty good.And… if we have time, energy and capacity, we’ve got ideas about a pie-of-the-month club, fresh bread and so much more! Keep checking back to see what else we’re rolling out, or sign up to be part of our email newsletters here.