A few years ago I read Michael Pollan’s book “Omnivore’s Dilemma”, which talks about food systems in America. In chapter two of his book the author visits Joel Salatin’s farm in Virginia, a place where land and animals are managed in such a way that it benefits all that are involved: the grass, the ecosystems, the grazing animals, and in the end, the customers. A well thought balance where man and nature work in harmony, where land isn’t depleted but rather nourished, where animals have room to roam and prime grass to feed on. It is no surprise that this model came to mind when I visited Holdanca’s farm in Wallace this week. John Duynisveld, the owner, has met Mr. Salatin a few times.

When I get out of my car, John and his daughter Maria, take me to the pasture to visit the sheep.  The sheep and lambs are grazing away, not paying much attention to us, two donkeys, mom and son, are keeping guard (they have me in check).

It is a striking sight, to stand in fields of rich grass that have been grazed for decades without plowing or the addition of chemical fertilizers. There is a look to it, a softness to the hills, a feel like you are back in time. Listening to the landscape I hear the sounds of bugs and passing birds. The land is alive, healthy, beautiful.

John tells me about regenerative agriculture where pastures are managed by the regular rotations of animals on selected sections of land. There is a time for each and none stay too long on one piece of field. The grass never gets too short either. Sometimes, for cattle, a fence can be moved three times in a day. Maria points out how they are mindful of the wildlife population. The tall grass providing shelter for birds, bugs, and mice.

Working with and for the land can be tasted in the meat. Not only does the meat taste better but it is also healthier. John tells me that because of their diverse diet of field grass, the animals develop more healthy fats. He explains how the frequent rotation of animals in the field increases the health of the soil. Better soil equals better grass; better grass equals better meat. Simple math. Also, which is quite exciting news, the way those pastures are managed enables a higher carbon capture than methane released by the animals. Talk about “eco meat”.

Well, lucky you, that farm is in our county, and the meat readily available. Visit Holdanca’s website for product and price lists. Place an order and you can pick up goods at the farm on Thursdays and Fridays between 9am and 4pm. Starting at the end of the month you will find their stand at the Saturday Farmer’s Market in Pugwash. Holdanca’s meat can also be found at “The Warehouse” market in Halifax (open Wednesdays to Saturdays). Starting this week, for a $5 fee, Maria will deliver orders every Wednesdays to customers in Cumberland County. Orders must be in by Tuesday. That’s customer service for you !

Here’s a few links

Contact for info and orders: duynisveldmaria@gmail.com

website : https://www.holdanca.ca/

Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/holdanca/

instagram : https://www.instagram.com/holdanca/