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I recently had the opportunity to visit Little Valley Farm. Now you might be thinking what’s the big deal about visiting a farm? As a city boy it was a big deal. Other than having seen piggies and Elsie the cow at the Royal Winter Fair when I was a kid, I had never visited a real farm. Sure, I have seen horses, sheep and cows in fields bordering various highways in my travels, but I have never been up close and personal with them.

I first met Glynis from Little Valley Farm back in July at the Fairmount Park Farm Market. (click on any photo to see a larger version)July_31_FairmountParkFarmMarket_166_2013-07-31_15-21-22_DSC_4759

The Fairmount Park Farm Market is a new farmers’ market that did a pilot test market back in May to gauge the community response and since July, Little Valley Farm has been a regular weekly vendor. Glynis and her brother Calum run a 75 acre farm in Mount Forest, Ontario. I have read enough bad things on the internet as to how poorly most animals are treated in mass-produced farms. That is certainly not the case at Little Valley Farm.

Shortly after I parked my car and got out, I was greeted by two dogs and then was somewhat startled and overwhelmed being greeted by a goat named Belle—with big horns!Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_161_2013-09-23_12-41-17_DSC_7944

The goat was extremely friendly! Glynis came out to greet me and then had to get right to work since the goat was in need of milking—by hand. The process took a little over 10 minutes, and as Glynis said, your hands certainly ache after this process.Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_32_2013-09-23_12-04-17_DSC_7815Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_46_2013-09-23_12-06-25_DSC_7829Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_53_2013-09-23_12-08-42_DSC_7836Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_60_2013-09-23_12-09-56_DSC_7843

Glynis managed to get about half a pail of milk from the goat. And guess who was going to get the milk? Her little piggies! It was time to meet the piggies which really was the main reason I was visiting the farm. Little Valley Farm offers a Winter Pork CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programme and I have bought into their pastured pork. Starting in December and continuing through March, we will received 10 pounds of pork each month which includes bacon, sausage, pork chops, ham steaks and ground pork. The price is reasonable and the quality of the pork is amazing.

Glynis sells mainly pork and occasionally chicken at the Fairmount Park Farm Market. All of her butchering is done at J Mar Meats in Mount Forest and they produce some fantastic products for her. Their honey garlic sausages and ham steaks are our favourites, and the bacon is wonderful.

The pigs that Glynis is raising are a heritage breed of Berkshire and Duroc. I witnessed what they were being fed. No slop for these piggies! They were free to forage and were mowing down a field of thistles. In addition to the goats’ milk, they were also being fed apples from nearby trees. They are not fed any corn, soy, growth hormones or antibiotics. It’s time to meet the piggies:Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_4_2013-09-23_11-58-49_DSC_7787Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_16_2013-09-23_12-00-38_DSC_7799Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_23_2013-09-23_12-01-19_DSC_7806Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_75_2013-09-23_12-16-57_DSC_7858Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_85_2013-09-23_12-17-36_DSC_7868Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_92_2013-09-23_12-17-59_DSC_7875Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_97_2013-09-23_12-18-22_DSC_7880

Little Valley also has a small flock of sheep. This is Pete who happens to be a chef and prepared an amazing lunch for us consisting of farm-fresh eggs and ham steak along with farm potatoes and beets. Pete is quite comfortable walking amongst the sheep.Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_82_2013-09-23_12-17-15_DSC_7865

The billy goat looked like something that you really didn’t want to mess with but he was good with Pete and Glynis. I kept my distance just in case.Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_122_2013-09-23_12-25-16_DSC_7905

Glynis opened the hen house and let out the chickens, roosters, duck and geese which were all allowed to run free.Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_169_2013-09-23_12-45-31_DSC_7952Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_177_2013-09-23_12-47-05_DSC_7960Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_181_2013-09-23_12-47-16_DSC_7964Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_192_2013-09-23_12-49-15_DSC_7975Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_206_2013-09-23_12-51-06_DSC_7989

In addition to all of the birds and animals, there were flowers everywhere along with a huge vegetable garden which was cordoned off so the goat wouldn’t consume everything!Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_213_2013-09-23_12-52-56_DSC_7996Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_64_2013-09-23_12-11-59_DSC_7847Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_218_2013-09-23_12-53-12_DSC_8001Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_225_2013-09-23_12-53-53_DSC_8008Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_242_2013-09-23_12-58-27_DSC_8025Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_246_2013-09-23_12-59-09_DSC_8029Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_260_2013-09-23_13-00-50_DSC_8043Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_266_2013-09-23_13-01-14_DSC_8049Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_231_2013-09-23_12-55-06_DSC_8014

And here is one last photo of the little piggies. See you in December on our dinner plate!Sept_23_LittleValleyCSA_132_2013-09-23_12-30-56_DSC_7915

Many thanks to Glynis for inviting me to the farm, and to Pete for his amazing lunch. If you want to purchase Little Valley Farm products, just visit the Fairmount Park Farm Market, 1725 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, Wednesdays, from 3pm until 7pm.