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By Brian Lockhart
Have you ever passed by a farming property and wondered what really happens during a day on an average farm?
The Dufferin Farm Tour gave people the opportunity to visit a working farm, meet with the farm owners, and see livestock and real farming operations.
It was an all-day tour that allowed visitors to travel between farms at their leisure.
This year's tour included a Christmas tree farm, a beef farm, a dairy farm, a four-season vegetable farm and an equine farm.
Every farm on the tour had a steady stream of visitors throughout the day.
“We have five farms on the tour,” explained Farm Tour committee member Trevo Pugh. “They're all really busy. There's 13 of us on the tour committee. We pick an area of the county and try ask farmers if they would consider opening their farms to the public.”
This year the farms were all in Mono and Amaranth. It was an opportunity for urban Dufferinites to see agriculture in their back yard and understand where their food comes from.
“It gets people outside and gives them a chance to see how farming is done today,” Mr. Pugh said.
The Farm Tours have been taking place since 2000 with a different section of the county chosen each year and asked to participate.
On this tour, Jason and Vikki Huck and family opened their farm – Hockley Valley Farm – to visitors.
The farm was originally started in the late 19th century. The barn on the property was built in 1905.
The Huck family purchased the farm in 2016 and moved there from East Gwillimbury. Their former location was a hobby farm and they brought their Percheron horses with them when they moved to Hockley.
The horses provided the power during wagon rides around the property during the tour.
Hockley Valley farm grows Christmas trees on their 93 acres.
“We give visitors a ride up to the tree field,” Mr. Huck said as visitors loaded up on the wagon. “ We're open for business in the five weeks leading up to Christmas. We've got some heavy horses here and we do special events. The Percherons are similar to Clydesdales but originated in France. We had the horse before we moved here.”
Mr. Huck worked in Orangeville and passed along Hockley Road on his way home. He decided to take a closer look when he saw the farm was up for sale.
“We had a hobby farm. We came to look at the farm and we already had the horses and though it all fit well together.”
It takes between seven and ten years to grow a Christmas tree.
“On this farm we don't actually harvest the crop,” Mr. Huck explained. “We bring people in and create an experience for them. They harvest the trees themselves. People get on the wagon and the tractor will bring them up to the field. The trees are all different sizes. They grow at different rates – it's not like the whole field is ready at the same time. As soon as we bought the farm we started planting trees every spring and every summer. We usually plant 1000 trees in the spring and 1000 in the fall. There's probably around 12,000 trees on the farm right now.”
The Farm Tour is becoming more popular every year with many first-time visitors who have never been on an actual working farm.
Post date: 2019-10-03 16:14:11
Post date GMT: 2019-10-03 20:14:11
Post modified date: 2019-10-10 09:56:31
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