September 2020 Edition
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Zettel Family Farms

Chepstow, Ontario www.zettelfamilyfarms.ca


To order, call Ted: 519-881-8773
or email: ted.zettel@gmail.com
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A New Decade!

A new year and a new decade. Oh how the years go by! At Zettel Family Farms, the partners - Sam and Mark and myself (Ted Sr.) are reviewing the progress of the past and trying our best to plan for the future.

2019 was a busy year with Mark and Emily moving into their newly renovated farmhouse in June, just in time to welcome the arrival of Henry, a little brother for Owen. Grandpa is looking forward to when these guys and their cousins will be strapping young lads who can’t wait to load hay on the wagons while the old guys drive the tractor. With Sam and Michelle’s 5 sons we should be really rolling about 10 years from now.
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Lots of little 2020 calves have been born, and sometimes we encounter them in the manger! These little characters love to race around together in and out of the barn, sometimes colliding with the cows and each other. It's quite a sight!
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(right) So far, we have no girl cousins on the farms - but not to worry - there are quite a bunch of them growing up nearby, close enough to be involved. Some are already learning to ride, like Maggie here!
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Zettel Family Farms: Choosing to Call Bruce County Home

Our farm was recently featured as part of Bruce County's business development video series. Please watch it and click the like button!
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No More Veggies

Until the next generation grows a bit, we have decided that we have to give up the produce line. We are aware that the vegetables and greens from Mark and Emily’s garden were very popular, especially at the local farmer’s markets, and that many of you were dedicated customers.

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But the labour requirement of organic gardening on a commercial scale is extreme and we have had to conclude that, for now at least, it doesn’t work for our family. Fortunately, there are quite a few other producers in the area who can supply fresh, locally grown organic vegetables. So until those little boys and girls get big, we will simplify our operation and focus on providing pasture based organic meats; Chicken, beef and pork all year round, and Turkeys at Thanksgiving.

What's the difference?

We hear from many people that our pork products are very different in both flavour and texture from what can be purchased in the supermarket. This is not really surprising when we consider how most pigs are kept in confinement barns, and never get outside or off concrete. This year, since we haven’t had the normal amounts of snow, our pigs spend part of every day out in the pasture field, rooting and playing. When I see them out there, I am convinced that this is an essential part of a pig’s life, and that it must contribute to the health of the pig, and the quality of our meat in ways that can’t yet be understood or measured.
Ted explains pigs on pasture
Ted explains pigs on pasture.
Letting pigs go outside all year round complicates the management of the farm. In a confinement barn, the water never freezes, the feed can be delivered mechanically, the manure falls through the floor and is pumped away. No yards or fencing. One person can look after thousands of pigs. The way we manage our animals on a small-scale, pasture based organic farm, is by comparison, very labour intensive.

"If I were a pig..."

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Years ago, when I first learned about organic farming, I had been steeped in an intensive production mindset, where the animals were seen more as production units. I had to gradually train myself to look at the world from their perspective. As crazy as it sounds, this turns out to be a very helpful management technique - to ask myself - “If I were a pig, what would be the best for me?”

Coming into a barn or a field and seeing the conditions in this way makes the farmer sensitive to things like feed, water and air quality, all of which are recognized factors in animal health. You notice more subtle stress factors like overcrowding, competition for eating and drinking, bullying by dominant individuals. In all of this, the inescapable conclusion is that pasture in summer and access to outdoors all year round are what every animal should have!
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How to Order

  1. Visit our website (zettelfamilyfarms.ca/products) for an overview of what we offer.
  2. Request a quote online or...
  3. Call or email Ted: 519-881-8773 or ted.zettel@gmail.com

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