Antigo­nish County farms part of Open Farm Day

The Casket - - WHEELS - RICHARD MACKEN­ZIE richard­mac@the­cas­ket.ca

Have you ever thought about farm­ing? Maybe on a large scale or, per­haps, just as a hobby.

This Sun­day’s (Sept. 16) an­nual Open Farm Day in Nova Sco­tia will pro­vide the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to see what both lev­els are about from the cou­ple of Antigo­nish County farms par­tic­i­pat­ing.

For the large scale oper­a­tion, folks can check out West River Hol­steins dairy farm in Har­bour Cen­tre (1543 Hwy. 337) be­tween 2 and 4 p.m. There will be fa­cil­ity tours, with static dis­plays, and ac­tiv­i­ties for kids.

For the hobby side, it’s a short, scenic drive to South­side Har­bour Road where you’ll find Sim­ply Ducky Farm, at ad­dress num­ber 365.

“Meet and greet the goats with the kids, pet a potato, and hold a baby quail,” the no­ta­tion on the Meet Your Farmer web­site (meety­our­farmer.ca) states, in pro­mot­ing a visit to the farm.

“Take a guided tour of a small fam­ily-scale farm­ing oper­a­tion and learn what you need to know (costs, re­quire­ments, ben­e­fits), to safely raise your own chicken, pork, keep­ing goats for milk, as well as sheep (lamb) and quail. A se­lec­tion of farm and lo­cal prod­ucts will be avail­able for sam­ple and pur­chase.”

Sim­ply Ducky Farm will wel­come vis­i­tors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and owner/op­er­a­tor Crispin Cornect talked about the goals of getting in­volved in Open Farm Day.

“Hope­fully con­vince some peo­ple who are fence-sit­ters that, yes, you can do some of this your­self,” Cornect said.

“You can raise chick­ens in your back­yard if reg­u­la­tions and rules al­low. You can go ahead, if you have a small pas­ture, raise sheep, goats; but, more im­por­tantly, it’s to ex­pose the kids to it.”

Cornect said he’ll do some farm tours now and he is sur­prised by, how of­ten, in­ter­act­ing with an­i­mals, like his, is a brand new ex­pe­ri­ence for kids.

“Peo­ple come by and play with the an­i­mals and it’s stag­ger­ing how few chil­dren have held a baby chicken, have been up close to an an­i­mal like a goat, or seen pigs in per­son. When you see some­one make the con­nec­tion, in a healthy way, that this is where our food comes from, you can’t teach that in schools … they don’t have the ca­pa­bil­ity.”

He added he can un­der­stand some re­luc­tance with younger chil­dren who could be­come up­set with the con­nec­tion.

“But, even if you don’t draw the di­rect line be­tween what you see walk­ing around will be on your plate, the idea is, it’s nice peo­ple know that food comes from some­where, is raised by some­one,” he said.

Cornect noted his peo­ple­friendly goats will likely be the main at­trac­tion.

“They’re go­ing to be able to come into the field and get up close and per­sonal with the goats,” he said. “All the goats have been bot­tled feed so they think we’re weird two-legged goats. They spend the first two-weeks of their life away from their mom be­ing bot­tle feed, and in a playpen in the house.

“I’m the one who bot­tle-feeds the ba­bies so they im­print on peo­ple. And then I milk the mothers so they im­print, even more so, on me. It makes them more agree­able; it’s a very pos­i­tive in­ter­ac­tion, so that is go­ing to be the main at­trac­tion.”

Cornect said he doesn’t, nec­es­sar­ily, ex­pect peo­ple to come away from vis­it­ing his farm with any­thing “con­crete.”

“But I want them to leave with a pos­i­tive im­pres­sion and the idea that they could, if they wanted to, dip their toe into the wa­ter,” he said.

“And if peo­ple have ques­tions about the prac­ti­cal­ity of it, I did all the re­search, I started this from scratch. This was all over­grown weeds, bram­bles and thorns, when I moved here five years ago.”

In­ver­ness farms

An­other cou­ple of farms in the re­gion par­tic­i­pat­ing are In­ver­ness County’s Mamie’s Al­pacas and Lake Mabou Farms Ltd.

Mamie’s Al­pacas, at 84 Maceach­ern Road in Glen­dale, will wel­come vis­i­tors from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Lake Mabou Farms Ltd., at 724 Mabou Har­bour Road, is a dairy farm and will be open for vis­i­tors from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Richard Macken­zie

Crispin Cornect, sur­rounded by a few of his goats and one of his sheep, is look­ing for­ward to talking about his South­side Har­bour Road hobby farm, dur­ing Open Farm Day this Sun­day (Sept. 16).

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