Lauren & Dave DeVries
Ontario Pork Producers | Wellington County, ON
The DeVries family pork farm is a family affair. Like many young parents, Lauren and Dave want the best food and the best environment for their growing children. Like most Canadian farmers, their farm reflects their personal values, showcasing new technologies designed to optimize their animals’ wellbeing including loose sow housing and drop tube feeding systems. They also participate in the Raised Without Antibiotics (RWA) program for retail grocery brands.
As part of the RWA program, Lauren and Dave have put in the work. “We are part of the RWA program and our pork is sold at Loblaws under their “Free From” label. It’s been a great program for our farm. There are some challenges, we have to watch the details and be on top of things. Some of the requirements for the RWA program would be obviously no antibiotics used – either injected or in feed. There’s no antibiotics in any [Canadian] pork by the time it gets to the store, but our pork has never had any antibiotics. Our pigs are all vegetable grain-fed, and we make all our feed on the farm, so we grow our own crops, the crops all go into the pig feed, and then the manure from the pigs goes back onto the crops. It cuts back a lot on fertilizer use, which is great. We’ve done simple things around the farm such as fuel storage – just things we can do to keep things safe on the farm and keep the environment safe.”
Like all farming families, the line between work and home is blurred. As a part-time school teacher, Lauren has that much more ground to cover. “I’m kind of an ‘as-needed’ kind of gal,” she laughs. While she helps with pretty much any chore, her favourite job in the barn is piglet care. She also is the de facto finance department for the farm. “The most challenging thing of working on the farm is trying to get everything done in a day. To balance everything and try and get it all done, we have learned that we have to ask for help once in awhile. I think, the more kids you have, the more relaxed you get and you just know that as long as everyone is happy, clothed, and fed at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how we got there.” Dave agrees. “I’d love to tell consumers that the pork they’re purchasing is being raised by hardworking farmers who care about what they do, care about their animals, raise them the proper way, care for social responsibility, take care of the environment – all to produce a quality product for people to enjoy on their plates and just love what they do every day.”
After a busy day of hard work, the dinner menu is perhaps the simplest decision. “Our kids just love pulled pork – they would eat it multiple times a week,” shares Lauren. “That’s our go-to, and our favourite way for our family to enjoy it would be pulled pork on a bun.”
Recipes from the DeVries
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