By Patrick Meagher
WOODSTOCK — Jan Veldhuizen started chores early to be ready for his guests — all 2,100 of them.
The dairy and cash crop farm, at the south end of Woodstock, was this year’s venue for Breakfast on the Farm, an annual event under a big tent to educate city people about farming. Sponsored by Farm and Food Care Ontario, a farm advocacy group, this year’s June 11 event attracted the right people.
That was the highlight for Veldhuizen, “seeing so many city folk who had never been on a farm before, being there to educate them and that’s what happened.”
He said one woman said she “didn’t eat meat because of cruelty to animals but she couldn’t believe how well we treated the animals.”
People asked many basic questions like: “How old are these cows?”; “What do cows eat?”; “What local foods are available?”; and “What is that machine used for?”
Veldhuizen and his brother Evert operate Veldale farms with their wives. Both families have four kids. They milk 120 cows, cash crop and sell seed. Their big, red barn is a beauty: a cathedral ceiling, wide alleys, clean machines and clean cows, lots of light and air, well-manicured grounds. It’s hard not to be impressed. Who wouldn’t want to picnic here?
The breakfast menu included pancakes, scrambled eggs, pork sausage, strawberries, mushrooms, maple syrup, apple cider and milk. Volunteers cooked 20 cases of eggs, as well as liquid eggs, and 150 kg. of pork sausage and 120 kg. of pancake mix.
Guelph-based Farm and Food Care Ontario got the word out through Facebook, Twitter, local radio promotion and press releases.