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"Spuds, Sausage and Spring Creek Millers"

By Ken Laing, R.R. # 5, St. Thomas, 519 775-2789

On the tenth of July about 50 people converged on the Neufelds' farm near Tintern in the Niagara Peninsula. During the tour our appreciation grew for the substantial progress made by Tom, Mary Anne and family. Over the last eight years they have converted an old dairy farm into a young, diverse, organic operation.

We first ventured out to the fields to check out the crops: open-pollinated corn, hay, rye, hard and soft wheat, and double-drilled barley. Tom explained that double drilling at right angles increases the seeding rate, and fills in some of the space left by the ordinary parallel seven inch rows - thus shading out the weeds more.

Next we looked at the pork sausage operation - from the pigs enjoying their passion for mud, to the converted milk house that now contains a small sausage factory, to the new smoke house that adds the final irresistible flavour.

From there we moved on to admire the market garden. Here their specialty is potatoes. To control potato beetles they were using a new form of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) called "Trident". (Because the Neufelds grow some crops conventionally on another farm, they grow two colours of potatoes to make the difference obvious; red for organic, and white for conventional.) The market garden also contains black raspberries (Bristol), strawberries (Redcoat), squash, watermelons, pumpkins and gourds.

At this point, Tom fired up the old Allis Chalmers tractor. It powers a fine, big, old stone mill in the garage/mill. People enjoyed watching as wheat berries trickled in from above, while flour sifted out below.

To top off a fine farm tour we were treated to delicious samples of their own sausage, plus pancakes made from their own flour. (By the way, Tom would like to organize a local group of ecological farmers in the Niagara area. If you are interested, contact him at 905-563-5993.)

Copyright 1994 Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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