Hug a Farmer: Shardean Farms


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While my Aunt and Uncle have lived on a farm for as long as I can remember, their latest venture into farming only started once both had retired. While at one point in the 90s, they did raise lamb for meat (in fact,my mom tells me that she’s never had better lamb. Apparently people would call her begging for any meat they could get!), that project gave way to other ones. This time around, both were determined to make this endeavour last, and decided to start raising livestock again. But, they were determined not to raise any old animals, as instead their approach would be to revitalize heritage breeds — such as the Canadian Horse, the Jacobian Sheep and the Highland Cattle. In doing this, my Aunt and Uncle aren’t aiming to make a profit, and instead are farming because they love it, and they want to give their animals the best care possible. One unique thing is the feed — all of their cattle are grass fed, while nowadays most cattle is grain fed because this is thought to produce a better taste and is easier to control.But, my Uncle is doing it another way, because cattle have always eaten grass in the past, and he wants to preserve the old ways of doing things.

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While I have yet to try any of their beef, due to the fact that they have just starting slaughtering their cows, I cannot wait to try it out. With this idea of getting back to the roots of raising cattle, without any fancy feed or new-style cattle breeds, I am hoping for truly delicious result.

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One of my favourite parts of visiting with my family is seeing all the animals, especially since I’ve never seen some of the breeds before. For instance, the Jacobean sheep are quite unique and rare. In fact, with the 5 sheep that they have, Shardeans Farm is the 2nd largest Jacobean sheep producer in all of North America!IMG_0412phone 120

As well, seeing the Canadian horses is quite something, as they are truly stunning animals, and as Canada’s heritage breed of horses, quite patriotic to raise. Finally the Highland cattle are quite breathtaking, with their huge horns and their friendly nature. It’s always fun to visit the farm just to see what the livestock grow and flourish!

Although I’ve visited my family’s farm countless times, every time I’m there I find that I am learning something new. It might be as simple as how they feed the cows, or as cool as watching my Aunt spin the sheep’s wool in order to make yarn. One thing that has stuck with me is that food and farming doesn’t have to be complicated. There is nothing fancy about the farm, they don’t have any staff, or any machinery, yet they are able to raise gorgeous animals and delicious meats. Actually seeing animals being raised makes you realize how much effort goes into the steak you are eating, and makes you appreciate the food journey from farm to table more.

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