We are a family of 6 and live in the Ottawa Valley (outside Renfrew, Ontario) and have taken the plunge into farming. We started Coyote Rock Farm in 2011 and at that point country living and self-sustainability were about as distinct as our goals were.
While those things have not changed, some things have evolved with the farm. More and more, we are committed to using farming methods that are regenerative to our environment and making sure our animals have the best life possible while on our farm.
We are basically two city kids who had a dream of open spaces and country living but didn’t really think it would ever be a possibility. As we got older and had our first child in 2008, questions about food quality and our lifestyle choices started to creep in (as they do for a lot of new parents).
Our first couple years here we got our feet wet. We boarded some neighbour’s horses, learned how to take the hay off the fields, raised some chickens for eggs and meat, made all kinds of messes!
We started doing more and more reading on how we could affect this change in our family and possibly do the same for others. Patrick started reading books by Joel Salatin, seeking out consultations and work opportunities from people like Darby Simpson and Tarrah Young as well as joining forums, attending local events and workshops. We first raised organically fed chickens raised on pasture in 2012.
Chickens being a gateway drug to other livestock had us raising pigs for the first time in 2013. We did so using only certified organic grain and putting the pigs on pasture. Since then, we have learned more and now keep them as much as possible in forest (their natural habitat).
In the fall of 2013, we found out that Patrick was being laid off. Amazing how one phone call can change the trajectory of your life. It’s taken us a few years to rebuild after that upheaval but we are now back on our feet more ready than ever to take on the challenge and dream of making our farm not just our home but the business of our family.
Our goal is a sustainable, humane, family run and friendly farm. There is nothing better than to see your children learning the life skills necessary to not only earn money but put actual food on the table, be a steward to the land and caretaker of animals. We’re blessed that in many ways we are learning right alongside our children.
Thomas is 8 and Patrick’s right hand man when needed. He knows how to work hard and it is such a delight to see the pride on his face when he does work that is contributing and appreciated. He is becoming more independent every day and has big dreams of his own.
Evelyn is 5 and a lover of animals. The two together are responsible for the daily care of our egg layers – they each are paid for the eggs that make it to our kitchen unbroken (this being key!) and she carefully records how many eggs on our calendar each day. She recently used her egg money to purchase a bunny that resides with the chickens and is added to her daily chores – we suspect this won’t be the last animal she brings home.
Patrick is the driving force behind this all. When he speaks of the farm and the possibilities, the things we are doing and will do he lights up. He can talk farming for hours and the delay in making this his life’s work has been a challenge for his soul.
Tania is the at home support. Between homeschooling the kids, her work as a birth doula and child birth educator, volunteering with Girl Guides and most recently giving birth to our 3rd child she isn’t as hands on with farm work but certainly isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty.
Josephine is our new sweet addition. Our surprise 3rd child, she arrived on Easter of this year and is a delight to us all. It’ll be exciting to see her grow here on our land.
We are also fortunate to share this home with Patrick’s mother, Sophia. Sophia spends her days tending her gardens, “whipper-snippering” the yard, working on her glass mosaic and ensuring we don’t miss “happy hour” after the work is done.
We will always be working toward making Coyote Rock Farm a place where families can come to get food they can feel good about. We are an open book as to how our animals are raised and love to talk about it, the challenges and the successes. We know how wonderful it is to sit down to a home cooked meal and talk with your children, friends and family about where this meal came from, how that heightens the experience and appreciation we have for the sacrifice that eating requires. The joy that comes from nourishing your body with food that you can really feel good about.
We are committed to providing some of the best meats available on the Ottawa area. We are not here to compete with the grocery store, but to provide consumers the absolute tastiest, healthiest premium food you can spend your hard earned money on.
We hope our customers will feel great knowing they are supporting a true family farm. Our children are involved wherever possible and therefore you know that our animals are being cared for in a way that is as humane and safe as possible. Because we all rely on this earth for our well being we do whatever we realistically can to be good earth stewards.
We want to help feed your family and you can help us support ours. Pretty good win/win deal we think.