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Our Mission Statement
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Our mission is…
- To provide for our customers and staff, an educational, entertaining and rewarding experience surrounding the production of food and the crafting of wine.
- To educate and promote the value of keeping local communities strong and to inspire people to support local enterprises, by providing unique, creative and quality crops/products that are grown at the farm, or sourced within 100km.
- To provide personalized service making people feel special, valued and appreciated.
- To make all who come feel a part of this family farm as they share our little piece of heaven in all its seasonal splendour with their families.
- To provide opportunities to “slow down”, through events that celebrate the enjoyment of local food, wine and nature at a leisurely place.
The Culture of Food and how things are changing:
We believe strongly that food is becoming a very strong part of our culture today. As those of us who are baby boomers age, we appreciate and enjoy food in many ways. We are relearning the joy of cooking from scratch. We enjoy dining at establishments that celebrate local food, and make dining a very leisurely activity. Food is once again reclaiming an important part of our lives.
We are finding out that buying prepared foods is not good for our health and health of our children and grandchildren. These prepared foods are loaded with preservatives such as sugar, salt, and corn fractions. Corn fractions are products that have been artificially created from corn and then used to preserve, bulk up, or totally replace real food. As more of us become unhealthy, we begin to search for reasons, and we learn that all these artificial ingredients play havoc with our metabolism. As we continue to search, we start to discover important values that had been lost. We begin to see that we had replaced eating together at a table, with eating at the sink or standing up. We find out that eating together helps us to eat more slowly, digesting better, and gives us a sense of family.
We realize that we have replaced growing or finding food close to home with food that comes from half way around the world. If we really think about it, we know that much of this “distance” food is tasteless and expensive.
The value of growing our own food, or finding it close to home helps us to know exactly what goes into the food that goes into our bodies. It also helps us to participate in the responsibility of reducing greenhouse gases and preserving our world. When food doesn’t have to travel from the far reaches of the world, we greatly reduce oil consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
In our rush to globalization, we are giving over control of our lives to multinational corporations, whose only goal is to source raw products from the cheapest source. This is simply a “race to the bottom”. We are letting these global companies put food on store shelves from everywhere in world. It doesn’t matter what the standards are for labour, chemical usage, or safety, as long as it’s makes their financial statements look good. Food which contains “fractions” of corn, only benefits large multinational vertically integrated corporations, since they can grow the corn on corporate farms, using chemicals from their own companies, then process the corn in their factories, creating synthesized products to sell in their stores.
We have learned that “Product of Canada” does not mean “grown in Canada”. Apparently, the law states as long as 51% of the cost of the product happens in Canada, then it can use the term “Product of Canada” on the label. This means that if the cost of packaging, processing and marketing is at least 51%, they can put “product of Canada” on the label. We feel betrayed. We no longer have a label that tells us where this product was grown. It could be grown anywhere in the world, with the lowest standards and still be called “Product of Canada”
We are encouraged by efforts around the province, and perhaps the country, by numerous grower and producer associations, to create new brands that signify “grown in Ontario” or “Grown in Canada”.
We at Birtch Farms and Estate Winery have been very encouraged recently with the strong grass roots “buy local” movement. We have had conversations with customers who have decided to go back to “canning and freezing”. We have read many articles in newspapers and magazines recently, of new initiatives that bring urban people together with farmers and local producers. We have also read a very interesting book called “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, that explains the evolution of our food systems, and how we arrived where we are today. This book also goes to great lengths to show appreciation for a local system, and how we can support this. We also see a renewed interest in cooking from scratch, as cook books like “Simply in Season” gain wide acceptance.
This movement has not been created by governments or corporations. It has come from the “people” in their desire, to be healthier, to be less controlled, to preserve diversity in food, and to be more closely connected to their food. Governments have had to play “catch up” to be part of this movement. Multinational food corporations are now paying “lip service” to this movement, but would prefer to keep everyone in the dark about what is in the food, and where it comes from.
We look forward to ongoing participation in the growth of this new “culture of food”. We believe these new movements, and experiences are a positive step to a healthier and happier life where people care about their local communities, are willing to pay fair prices to farmers, and want their food to be grown locally.