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Pondering Pandemic Plusses

Oh how the months go by!  Can you believe that the first third of 2021 is already “in the books”?  We are into our second year of Covid restrictions, and no end in sight.  If at the start we were trying to just survive the unprecedented measures that have turned things upside down, we now should be asking ourselves how we can take advantage of new opportunities that emerge in this altered world.  Personally, I could launch a considerable rant against the inconsistent, downright inexplicable and arbitrary rules.  But to what avail?  There are positive attributes to the whole...

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February 2021 Newsletter

New Walk-in Freezer and Packing Room   We are putting the finishing touches on our new packing facility, (pics) built into our old driving shed on the home farm where Sam and Michelle and their five boys live. This driving shed was built in 1973 when I was 15 years old, for a total cost of $15,000. The reason that I remember the date and the amount is that there is an interesting piece of family folklore associated with the day the shed was finished. The contractor was a local man, and many of the workers were young guys...

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October 2020 Newsletter

Thanks be to God! The Thanksgiving weekend is a bittersweet event for us here at Zettel Family Farms. It is the finale of turkey production, which means one less chore each morning and night. The absence of turkeys, who inhabited the space between our house and the river, and occasionally visited our patio without an invitation, signals the end of summer. Thanksgiving is, for farmers, a good time to reflect on the year of planting and harvesting and storage and delivery – the year that is winding down. But for us, it is also the most turbulent weekend of...

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Grazing Management – the Science of Grass

One of the foundations of a pasture -based organic farm is rotational grazing.  We adopted this management strategy back in the 1980’s when we were still milking cows, and like everyone else were feeding them in confinement.  What that means is that you harvest the feed with machinery and bring it to the animals who are confined in the barn or yard....

What is a cover crop?

When we learned about organic farming in the 1980’s, the term “cover crop” was brand new in the language of farming here in Canada.  Pioneered by organic farmers the use of cover crops is now catching on with conventional agriculture as a means to enrich the soil and prevent erosion.  Cover crops are plantings that are intended primarily for soil improvement.  Usually they are incorporated into the soil while the crop is green and growing.  The tilling in of lush, green vegetation feeds the soil biology.  Just like the livestock in our barns thrive on good feed, the livestock...

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More on “Beyond Meat”

February 26th, just a few weeks ago, was “Ash Wednesday”, the day when many Christians around the world observe a day of fasting, the beginning of a 40 day preparation for Easter.  On this day they abstain from eating meat. Coincidentally, I turned on the radio while driving to catch an interview with Mark Bittman, the celebrated food writer, on the topic of plant based meat substitutes.  It’s worth a listen if you have time; https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-63-the-current/clip/15762625-national-affairs-panel-on-climate-and-resource-policy-mark-bittman-on-plant-based-meat-continuing-the-work-of-iranian-canadian-scientists-lost-in-flight-752-how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-coronavirus   As you know, the introduction of plant-based burgers and sausage at fast food outlets like Tim’s and Burger King drew a lot...

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