Meet Your Maker: Pfenning's Farm
In the spring of 2011 when we first began our weekly food deliveries in Toronto, we knew we were going to need to align with some amazing farms and farmers to help us pull it all off. Enter Pfenning's Organic Farm. The largest organic farm in Ontario (by acreage), yet still family run, Pfenning's is run by three generations of family farmers who are all actively involved in every aspect of the farm - from growing to packing and shipping.
The Pfenning family has been farming since the early 1600s (or as far back as documented family history exists)! Back then, everyone farmed organically. However, as chemicals were introduced into agriculture at the turn of the century, the Pfenning's embraced the modern farming techniques and enjoyed the short-term yield increases they produced. Gradually Willhelm Pfenning started to realize that he was sacrificing this own health because of all the agri-chemicals he was using, and he started to question the nutritional value of the crops he was growing.
In 1965 the Pfenning's switched over to organic farming and never looked back. In 1981, the family moved to piece of land on the Nith River just outside of Baden, Ontario where they have been operating their certified organic farm ever since.
Like us, Pfenning's puts "local first" and focuses on family and community building. Pfenning's also helps cultivate more small farms across Ontario by buying from them, helping with packaging, crop planning, storage and more. They do not work with large national grocery retailers and instead choose to support smaller independent retailers. A lot of thought goes into the environmental implications of their operation, for example, excess heat from the coolers is used to heat up buildings throughout the winter.
Watch this video made for the Canadian Organic Growers Conference in Toronto to hear from the Pfenning's family: