This Sunday the organic farm where I get my eggs and meat and the occasional fleece was open to the public, to celebrate organic farming.
I was there with some wools and tools to show the visitors how I process the fleeces from the organic sheep and what useful things I make out of it.
It was a lovely day. Next to me were people preparing a Nepalese food called momo, using the various meats from the farm. Momo are delicious! They are steamed and sometimes fried too. The nice lady was so hospitable, she kept offering them. She was also very fast and skilled folding the momo in various shapes, to keep track of which flavour it was.
Here’s me eating a chicken one:
The farm is Laan van Wisch in Hengelo, Gelderland. It’s run by a husband and wife team and for them quality of life is the first priority. For themselves and for the animals. That’s a very refreshing business model! Rewarding too.
All animals have enough space and plenty of diversity to make for happy lives. This makes it easy for the cows to keep their horns: they have the space to figure out their hierarchy without wounding their herd fellows.
The cows at Laan van Wisch live in a herd with adults and “teens” so the teens can learn from their elders how to be a cow and not try and rear themselves and invent all kind of weird behaviour. It makes for relaxed and confident cows.
On Sunday they all gathered at the meadow gate closest to the farmyard, because of the music!
Another example is that the chickens get to keep their beaks because they are not bored or put in such close quarters that they turn on each other as is the case in farms focussing on large production instead of quality.
The chickens at Laan van Wisch have a large piece of land with a part made of gravel (to strengthen their feet), a part with sand (to scratch around in and take dust baths), a part with grass and herbs (to look for bugs) and a part forest (to go on adventure). And their coop of course, where every chicken has a separate sleeping/laying boot. The temporary farm hand, Thijs, explained all this to us. He was so knowledgable and enthousiastic!
There’s one rooster and he’s constantly calling the chickens to point out something tasty here or there. He has magnificent plumage.
Next to the chickens are the pigs. They live the good life too! Two sows and they had their piglets earlier this Spring:
This is them last Sunday:
All animals on the farm get to live to adulthood before slaughtering is even thought about. For some animals slaughtering is never thought about and they get to die of old age.
The farmer gave tours on Sunday and spoke about one of his favourite cows who lived to be 21 years old. He got teary eyed just talking about her.
There was an artisan making bread in a wood stoked oven: Ben from Ben’s Houtovenbrood:
People could climb the large apple tree, aided by professionals:
It was a grand day!
Living a life of quality instead of the constant want for upscaling just might be the smartest business move of all.
most pictures in this blogpost are copyright Laan van Wisch